Construction Up and Running
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#271November 2023

Construction Up and Running

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A core catcher for El Dabaa Unit 2 arrived at the site of Egypt’s first nuclear power plant from Russia. The installation of nuclear equipment at this power unit is to begin by the end of the year.

The molten core catcher, or ‘melt trap’, was successfully delivered to El Dabaa at the end of October. The shipment containing three main components of the core catcher left Russia on October 17 and arrived earlier than planned. The total weight of the shipment was 455 tonnes.

“We are pleased to mark another key milestone of our pivotal project, the delivery of the melt trap for El Dabaa Unit 2. Our team successfully finished inspections and acceptance testing of this long-lead piece of equipment in Russia prior to its shipment to Egypt. Earlier this year, the Nuclear Power Plants Authority and other stakeholders completed the infrastructure work required for the delivery of heavy and large-size equipment for the nuclear plant, having constructed and commissioned the port facilities at the site,” said Eng. Mohamed Ramadan Badawi, Vice Chairman of the Operation and Maintenance Board and General Manager for the El-­Dabaa Project at Egypt’s Nuclear Power Plants Authority.

The core catcher is a know-how of Russian nuclear engineers and a central component of the passive safety system at nuclear power plants with Generation III+ VVER‑1200 reactors.

It is a steel cone-shaped tank installed in the concrete reactor pit. In case of a core meltdown, the core catcher retains corium fragments and keeps them securely inside the reactor containment. When the reactor is in operation, the core catcher is filled with special substances that make the corium lose some of its accumulated heat. Chemical processes initiated by the contact with these materials retain the corium and cool it down. With its enhanced seismic resistance, hydrodynamic and impact resistance properties, the core catcher ensures maximum safety.

“After the second ‘melt trap’ passes incoming inspection, it will also be installed in its designed position. This operation will be completed by the end of the year,” ASE Vice President and El Dabaa Construction Project Director Alexey Kononenko said. In early October, installation of the core catcher began at the first unit of the plant.

Russian Ambassador to Cairo Georgy Borisenko noted that the construction of El Dabaa was running ahead of schedule. He added that Egypt was one of Russia’s principal partners in the Middle East and North Africa.