Construction of a nuclear plant by Russia’s state-owned energy corporation Rosatom on Egypt’s north coast has begun, according to a joint statement from the company and Egyptian authorities.
The plant at El-Dabaa is Egypt’s first and is planned to have four units, each with a generating capacity of 1,200MW, according to the statement posted by the Egyptian nuclear authority late on Wednesday.
Egyptian Energy Minister Mohamed Shaker was quoted as saying the pouring of concrete for the first unit marked an “historic event” for Egypt, made possible by Egyptian-Russian cooperation.
The 4.8-gigawatt plant is located 300 kilometers west of Cairo in the Matrouh province on the Mediterranean.
The construction is expected to be completed in eight years.
Rosatom chief Alexey Likhachev said: “The construction of the first unit of the plant officially marks Egypt’s joining of the nuclear-producing countries.”
It will allow it to reach new levels of technological, industrial and educational development, he added.
He said the El-Dabaa plant is the greatest cooperation project between Russia and Egypt since the construction of the Aswan High Dam.
Egypt has been considering a nuclear plant at El-Dabaa on and off since the 1980s. Contracts for the plant came into effect in 2017, but the start of construction was delayed for several years.
Rosatom received approval from the Egyptian regulator to start construction on the first unit last month.
The plant will use pressurized water reactors similar to those at Novovoronezh and Leningrad nuclear power plants in Russia, and at a Belarusian plant that was connected to the grid in November 2020, the joint statement said.