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Dabaa Nuclear Project Offers Light in Egypt’s Economic Gloom — Global Issues

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Dabaa nuclear project promises energy stability to Egypt. Credit: ROSATOM
  • by Hisham Allam (cairo)
  • Inter Press Service

This ambitious collaboration with Russia signifies a potential game-changer, promising to invigorate the nation’s energy landscape and bring about economic upliftment. Despite the international sanctions imposed on Russia, the project marches forward undeterred, promising stability, progress, and much-needed energy security for Egypt’s future. 

Egypt’s economy is currently navigating through a period of significant challenges. The country is grappling with a high inflation rate, which stood at 29.8% in January 2024. Economic growth has declined to 4.2% during FY23 (July 2022–June 2023) from 6.6% a year earlier. Despite these hurdles, the Egyptian authorities have been undertaking a series of policy adjustments and structural reforms. These measures, coupled with the anticipated recovery of real GDP growth to 4.7% in FY 2024/2025, signal potential improvements over the medium term.

Dr. Sameh Noman, a professor of engineering and renewable energy expert, explained that the project, which is 85% financed by Russia, marks a significant progression in Egypt’s energy sector. Egypt, he added, bears the remaining cost and the project is being implemented in stages.

Noman pointed out that the agreement stipulates that at least 20 percent of the secondary components of the station will be Egyptian products, a percentage that increases to approximately 70 percent upon completion. He emphasized the importance of the partnership between Egypt and Russia in producing non-primary and essential components for the station, which constitute 70 to 75% of the station’s total components. This collaboration, he noted, enables a gradual transfer of technology and expertise to Egyptian industries.

According to Noman, the payment of funds will commence after the operation of the station and the start of electricity production. He reassured that the project will not be a burden on Egypt’s economy, as this step was agreed upon in 2015, and Egypt will only bear a very small part of the cost during the construction stages.

The Dabaa plant, as Noman described it to IPS, is a single station with four reactors, each producing 1.2 megawatts, meaning that the total output from the station is 4.8 megawatts. He underscored the advantage of the plant in that the cost of producing the kilowatt is very close to the cost of producing its counterpart from renewable energy.

Nestled along the picturesque Mediterranean coast, the Dabaa plant comprises four state-of-the-art pressurized water reactors, each boasting a capacity of 1,200 megawatts. With a combined capacity of 4,800 megawatts, this ambitious initiative is poised to significantly bolster Egypt’s energy grid, meeting the growing demands of its population.

Noman said emissions from the plant are close to about 14 grams of carbon dioxide per kilowatt. When comparing this with gas power stations, he noted that the latter produces 500 grams of carbon dioxide emissions per kilowatt, while wind power produces 12 grams of carbon per kilowatt.

Noman assured that the international sanctions imposed on Russia would not be an obstacle to completing the project, especially since Russia is considered a major player in nuclear energy production and the construction and operation of stations. He stated that a large part of the project has already been implemented, and we are currently in the stage of pouring concrete for the fourth transformer.

Dr. Karim El-Adham, the former head of the Nuclear Safety Authority, highlighted that Egypt is the first country in Africa to build a “VVER-1200” nuclear reactor, a model known for its nuclear safety rates and electricity production. The Dabaa station, located in Matrouh Governorate on the Mediterranean Sea coast, had undergone numerous studies over more than thirty years, ensuring its compliance with all safety conditions and nuclear safety standards set by the International Atomic Energy Agency.

El-Adham emphasized the project’s economic feasibility and its role in fostering state growth and sustainability alongside renewable energy sources. He also addressed the environmental impact of the project, revealing that the emissions from the plant are close to about 14 grams of carbon dioxide per kilowatt, significantly lower than gas power stations.

He reassured that the international sanctions imposed on Russia would not be an obstacle to completing the project, especially since Russia is the first country globally in nuclear energy production and the construction and operation of stations. A large part of the project has already been implemented, and we are currently in the stage of pouring concrete for the fourth transformer.

El-Adham also noted that upon completion, the plant is estimated to inject over 35 billion kilowatt-hours of electricity annually at a competitive cost while simultaneously creating job opportunities for Egyptians. This, he believes, is a testament to the potential of the Dabaa Nuclear Power Plant project.

IPS UN Bureau Report


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© Inter Press Service (2024) — All Rights ReservedOriginal source: Inter Press Service

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