Russian nuclear energy conglomerate Rosatom announced the start of construction of Egypt’s first nuclear power plant, “the biggest Russian-Egyptian cooperation project since the Aswan dam”, estimated according to local press at 25 billion euros.
On Wednesday, Egyptian Electricity Minister Mohamed Chaker and Rosatom President Alexei Likhatchev made a symbolic start to work in the north of the country, according to a statement from the Russian group.
In early May, Rosatom lost one of its biggest industrial projects to a Russian group’s involvement in the European Union, when a consortium in Finland withdrew its order to build a nuclear reactor after Russian troops invaded Ukraine.
Egypt, which has yet to take sides with the Russians or Ukrainians, appears to be pursuing its 2015 plan to become a civilian nuclear power.
In 2017, Moscow and Cairo concluded an agreement to build four reactors of 1,200 megawatts (MW) each.
“The construction of the first reactor means Egypt’s entry into the nuclear club,” said Likhatchev, who considers this “the biggest Russian-Egyptian cooperation project since the Aswan dam.”
Indeed, the Soviet regime had helped the regime of President Gamal Abdel Nasser to build this monumental work of concrete and steel, 700 kilometers from Cairo, to regulate the floods of the Nile and guarantee Egypt’s agricultural and electrical independence.
In the early 1980s, Egypt had already planned to build a nuclear power plant in Dabaa, but the project had been put on hold after the Chernobyl disaster in 1986.
Now, it is President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi who is at the base of the new Egyptian nuclear program, one of his megaprojects – the other is the one in the new capital, 50 kilometers from Cairo -, controlled by the armed forces.
The Russian Federation participates in the financing of the project with a loan.
The announcement of the start of the works was made when the Russian Minister of Foreign Affairs, Sergei Lavrov, is preparing to go to Cairo, on Sunday, to meet with the Arab League.
Source: With Agencies