Fourth First Concrete at El Dabaa
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#274February 2024

Fourth First Concrete at El Dabaa

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First concrete pouring for the basemat of Unit 4 started at El Dabaa Nuclear Power Plant. With all four units of the plant now under construction, El Dabaa is one of the largest nuclear construction sites worldwide and the largest in Africa.

Russian President Vladimir Putin and Egyptian President Abdel Fattah Al-­Sisi took part in the first concrete ceremony at Unit 4 via video link. The leaders of the two countries gave the go-ahead for concrete pouring.

“We will contribute towards creating advanced production facilities and qualified jobs, and solving social issues. We will do it together as the new energy system allows all this to be done. This is truly a flagship project in the best traditions of our bilateral cooperation,” Vladimir Putin said. El Dabaa will be capable of generating up to 37 billion kWh of electricity, which is about 10 % of the country’s total energy needs. According to Vladimir Putin, the two presidents keep the project under constant control.

Abdel Fattah Al-­Sisi called the event “a brilliant page in the book of close cooperation between Egypt and Russia” and noted that the nuclear plant construction was progressing faster than scheduled. “The global energy crisis proves the importance of Egypt’s strategic decision to revive its national nuclear power generation program as it contributes to securing a safe, cheap and long-lasting source of energy in a way that reduces dependence on fossil fuels and avoids price fluctuations,” the President of Egypt said.

Rosatom Director General Alexey Likhachev, who was on the nuclear plant site, welcomed the guests and said: “Today is a landmark event in the history of Egypt’s nuclear power industry and Russian-­Egyptian relations. With the first concrete poured for the foundation of Unit 4, construction of the country’s first nuclear power plant, the largest cooperation project of our countries after the Aswan Dam, has reached full speed. Now all the four power units of El Dabaa NPP are under construction. This means that our Egyptian site has become one of the two largest nuclear construction projects in the world.”

Mohamed Shaker, Minister of Electricity and Renewable Energy of Egypt, emphasized that the first concrete pouring at Unit 4 resulted from political support from the leadership of the two countries, round-the-clock hard work and dedication of the teams.

At adjacent reactors

Foundation works were completed at the nuclear island of El Dabaa Unit 1, and erection of the buildings has begun. In 2023, the first piece of equipment, a core catcher for Unit 1, was delivered to the site and installed. The core catcher for Unit 2 was installed in the same year. In May 2023, the first concrete was poured at Unit 3. Construction of cooling water supply and discharge canals is currently in full swing at the site.

The plan for 2024 is to begin the installation of the inner containment at Unit 1 and install core catchers at Units 3 and 4.

More than 16,000 people are involved in the construction of the nuclear power plant. There will be twice as many of them at the peak of construction. The local content, i. e. contribution of local businesses to the project, is 20 % in Unit 1 and will grow to 35 % in Unit 4.

On a solid foundation of law and technology

Construction of El Dabaa NPP is governed by a package of contracts that came into effect on December 11, 2017. Russia will build the plant and also help Egypt train national personnel. More than 90 Egyptian students have been trained in nuclear professions in Russian universities, and about 150 more are currently being trained. Overall, the Russian nuclear corporation will train about 2,000 professionals as part of the project. Rosatom will also provide operation and maintenance support during the first 10 years of the plant operation, supply fuel during the entire service life of the nuclear power plant, and build a dry storage facility for spent nuclear fuel.

All the units will be equipped with Generation III+ VVER‑1200 reactors (1200 MW water-­cooled water-­moderated reactors). Their protection systems will be both active and passive, including core catchers, passive core flooding systems, emergency core cooling systems, etc.

Four units with the same-generation reactors are operating in Russia, two reactors at Novovoronezh and two at Leningrad nuclear power plants. A two-unit nuclear power plant is operating in the Republic of Belarus. Its first and second units were connected to the national grid in November 2020 and May 2023, respectively.