Egyptian delegation to head to Russia over nuclear project

CAIRO: An Egyptian delegation will head to Russia this week to discuss building the first Egyptian nuclear power plant, an official in the Egyptian Ministry of Electricity told Youm7 Saturday.

Four days ago, President Abdel Fatah al-Sisi and his Russian counterpart Vladimir Putin signed an agreement of cooperation between both sides in the electricity field, and announced that Russia would build the first nuclear plant in Egypt.

The delegation will discuss the participation of foreign financing of the project as the Russian side will fund 95 percent of the costs, rather than by 85 percent, the sources told Youm7.

In 1981, Egypt allocated the Dabaa area in Matrouh governorate, 183.9 miles from Cairo on the North Coast, to build its first nuclear 55-kilometer-square plant. Construction, however, has been stalled since then.

Bu Shekara inspects the new allocated land for Dabaa residents- Shekara's Facebook page)

Bu Shekara inspects the new allocated land for Dabaa residents- Shekara’s Facebook page)

The source, who refused to mention his name because he was not authorized to speak to the media, told Youm7 that Egypt will repay the foreign funds over a year or a year and a half for Dabaa’s two reactors with a cost of $4 billion to 5 billion.

He noted that signing the agreement with Russia may save $16 billion, the cost of the fuel that would be required for electricity production over the coming two years. He added that all Egyptian oil-operated electricity plants annually consume 2 million tons of fuel while the two nuclear-operated facilities would need 50 tons of fuel.

During a news conference between Sisi and Putin in Cairo, Sisi noted that such a project would help meet Egyptian demands for electricity; Egypt has suffered from a power crisis for years due to fuel shortages that routinely result in rolling blackouts especially in the summer months with peak usage.

In November 2014, President Sisi allocated a 2,300-acre tract for building an urban settlement in Dabaa for the workers and locals.

Dabaa residents’ spokesperson Mastour Bu Shekara told The Cairo Post Saturday that the city is still under construction, adding that President Sisi could inaugurate it in “the coming holy month of Ramadan,” which will be in June 2015.

Bu Shekara noted that residents of Dabaa who are eligible to work in the plants will have priority to be officially appointed by the government. In 1982, the government evacuated about 500 families to build the plant.

Bu Shekara added that employing locals from Dabaa at the plant is one of the demands of residents to the government.

Additional reporting by Rahma Ramadan


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