The Egyptian nuclear project is underway, despite the restrictions imposed by the outbreak of the novel coronavirus and the Egyptian authorities’ decision to postpone the opening of major projects, including the new capital.
In remarks to Asharq Al-Awsat, Grigory Sosnin, the director of the Dabaa nuclear project, said that the company “has taken a set of strict preventive measures, restricting the access of people who recently came to Egypt to the construction site and relying on video conferences to hold regular meetings with the Nuclear Power Stations Authority in Egypt.”
Russia’s state-owned Rosatom, which specializes in nuclear energy, is working on launching the first nuclear power plant in Egypt, in the city of Dabaa on the shores of the Mediterranean (130 km northwest of Cairo). The plant consists of four nuclear reactors, each with a capacity of 1200 megawatts, with a total capacity of 4,800 megawatts.
Sosnin, who is also the vice president of Atomstroyexport, Rosatom’s subsidiary, said that preparatory work was taking place on-site, as well as in the design of the project.
He noted that if things went according to plan, “the first nuclear reactor will be operational within seven years, after meeting the necessary permits... while the remaining three reactors will be activated consecutively one by one.”
The Russian director did not express concern about the impact of the COVID-19 crisis on the planned program, stressing that Rosatom was closely monitoring the developments of the situation related to the virus around the world, especially in the countries in which it operates.
He added that the company “considers the health and safety of its employees a priority.”
In 2015, Egypt and Russia concluded an agreement to cooperate in building the Dabaa nuclear power plant, with a $ 25 billion loan provided by the Russian state.
Construction is underway at the site, in parallel with work to complete the necessary documents to obtain the so-called “nuclear license”, which is granted by the Egyptian Nuclear and Radiological Supervision Authority (ENRRA).