El Dabaa Enters New Stage
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#270October 2023

El Dabaa Enters New Stage

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The work started at El Dabaa in early October to install the first pieces of nuclear equipment. Egypt’s first nuclear power plant passed another milestone.

The installation of a core catcher began at the first unit of El Dabaa Nuclear Power Plant. It is one of the central elements of the plant’s safety systems and an integral part of every power unit with a Generation III+ VVER‑1200 reactor. The core catcher consists of several parts with a total weight of 700 tonnes. It is installed in the reinforced concrete reactor pit to improve safety and reliability of the nuclear plant operation. It took 14 months to manufacture the core catcher.

“The core catcher for Unit 1 is the first long-lead equipment to be delivered to the site earlier this year on March 21 and the commencement of its installation coincides with the 50th anniversary of the 6th of October great victory day, a historic moment for the Egyptian people,” said Dr. Amged El-­Wakeel, Board Chairman of the Nuclear Power Plants Authority.

Vice President of ASE and El Dabaa Construction Project Director Alexey Kononenko noted the core catcher for Unit 2 was planned to be delivered and installed by the end of the year.

Egypt is working hard on developing its national nuclear industry. In a speech at the 67th session of the IAEA General Conference in September, Egyptian Energy Minister Mohamed Shaker said the country had completed the ratification of the Convention on Nuclear Safety.

Mohamed El-­Molla, Permanent Representative of the Arab Republic of Egypt to international organizations in Vienna and to the IAEA, deposited the convention ratification document with the IAEA Director General Rafael Grossi.

Grossi expressed his appreciation for this important step as it reflected the country’s strong commitment to nuclear safety and development of the Egyptian nuclear program. He noted that the IAEA strove to continue its cooperation with Egypt in delivering the El Dabaa nuclear power plant project.

The Egyptian ambassador said that the ratification was welcomed by the countries participating in the IAEA General Conference. He stressed the importance of Egypt’s accession to the convention as a reflection of Egypt developing its peaceful nuclear program in the El Dabaa region.

El-­Molla added that the vast majority of the countries operating nuclear power plants were parties to the convention. It serves as an essential platform for discussing and coordinating nuclear safety standards through international conferences held every three years.

Staff training for the under-­construction nuclear power plant is a centerpiece of Egypt’s nuclear deployment efforts. Amged El-­Wakeel emphasized in an interview to Al-­Alam El-­Youm that Russia provided assistance in training Egyptian personnel and Russian employees worked at the nuclear construction site. Egyptian students are trained at the leading Russian universities offering nuclear degrees.

Egypt is not Rosatom’s only partner in the region as the Russian nuclear corporation is expanding its cooperation with other MENA countries, and not in the energy sector alone.

In particular, Rosatom signed a memorandum of understanding with the Algerian Commission of Atomic Energy (COMENA) on the sidelines of the 67th IAEA General Conference. The parties agreed to carry out joint projects for non-energy applications of nuclear technology, such as healthcare, through the establishment of nuclear medicine centers.

“Rosatom takes the most comprehensive approach possible to achieving goals in the healthcare segment. We offer our customers isotope facilities, production of radiopharmaceuticals, production of high-tech medical equipment, irradiation of medical items and foodstuffs, and construction of nuclear medicine centers,” said Boris Arseev, Deputy Director General for Corporate Development and International Business at Rosatom.

As a Top 5 isotope supplier worldwide, Rosatom manufactures 11 radiopharmaceuticals and is building Europe’s largest radiopharmaceuticals factory. You can read more about Rosatom’s radiopharmaceutical business in the News section of this issue. In addition, Rosatom manufactures and sells 16 types of proprietary medical equipment and offers a one-stop-shop solution for nuclear medicine infrastructure, from design and construction of medical facilities to outfitting and medical staff training.

COMENA Chairman Abdelhamid Mellah pointed out that Rosatom’s assistance in the development of nuclear medicine would have a strong impact on early diagnosis and treatment of cancer in Algeria. “Cooperation with such a reputable partner as Rosatom will also be the key to COMENA’s success in accomplishing the tasks set by the government,” Abdelhamid Mellah said.