IAEA Reviews Egypt’s Nuclear Power Infrastructure DevelopmentOla Ghanem
An International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) team of experts has concluded a 11-day mission to the Arab Republic of Egypt to review its infrastructure development for the nuclear power programme. The Integrated Nuclear Infrastructure Review (INIR), which ended on 6 November, was conducted at the invitation of the Government of Egypt.
The INIR team reviewed the status of nuclear infrastructure development using the Phase 2 criteria of the IAEA’s Milestones Approach. The Milestones Approach provides detailed guidance for three phases of nuclear power infrastructure development: consider, prepare and construct. The end of Phase 2 marks the readiness of a country to invite bids and negotiate contracts for a nuclear power programme.
The mission was hosted by the Nuclear Power Plants Authority (NPPA) which is the owner/operator of nuclear power plants in Egypt.
“The INIR mission was conducted in a cooperative and open atmosphere” said team leader Jose Bastos, Technical Lead of the IAEA’s Nuclear Infrastructure Development Section. “Egypt is well placed for the construction phase of its first nuclear power plant.”
Egypt, with a population of almost 100 million, plans to construct its first nuclear power plant (NPP) at El-Dabaa, located on the Mediterranean coast about 150 km west of Alexandria. Egypt has engaged with an EPC contractor to construct and commission four 1200 MWe pressurized water reactors.
The INIR team said that Egypt has conducted extensive work to develop its infrastructure for the construction phase of its nuclear power programme. The programme has strong support from the Government and a clear commitment to safety, security and non-proliferation. The INIR team noted that Egypt has established comprehensive national legislation, signed an Inter-Governmental Agreement and made contractual arrangements for the construction and operation of the first nuclear power plant. NPPA and the Egyptian Nuclear and Radiological Regulatory Authority have been established and have the services of technical and other consultants to support the development of the infrastructure, including capacity building.
The team comprised experts from Algeria, Brazil, Spain and UK as well as IAEA staff. It reviewed the status of the 19 nuclear power programme infrastructure issues using the IAEA Nuclear Energy Series “Evaluation of the Status of National Nuclear Infrastructure Development”. Prior to the mission, Egypt submitted a self-evaluation report covering all infrastructure issues as well as supporting documents to the IAEA.
The team made recommendations and suggestions, highlighting areas where action could assist Egypt in further development of its nuclear infrastructure, including two key areas: continue to develop legal and regulatory framework and readiness for the construction phase and sustainability.
The team also identified some good practices that would benefit other countries considering the introduction of nuclear power in the areas of regulatory framework, electrical grid, stakeholder involvement, nuclear security and industrial involvement.
Welcoming the outcome of the mission, Prof Amged El-Wakeel, Board Chairman of Nuclear Power Plants Authority and Director-General of the Egyptian Nuclear Power Project commended the level of engagement of all personnel and IAEA representatives involved in the INIR Mission. He said “We are pleased that the IAEA’s assessment of the status of our programme accords with our self-assessment. Through the INIR Mission, I believe we have established a new benchmark for our ongoing and future cooperation with the IAEA as we deliver the El-Dabaa NPP Project and bring the benefits of nuclear energy to Egypt’s almost 100 million people.”
About INIR Missions
Integrated Nuclear Infrastructure Review (INIR) missions are based on the IAEA Milestones Approach, with its 19 Infrastructure Issues, three Phases and three Milestones. INIR missions enable IAEA Member State representatives to have in-depth discussions with international experts about experiences and best practices in different countries. In developing its recommendations, the INIR team takes into account the comments made by the relevant national organizations. Implementation of any of the team’s recommendations is at the discretion of the Member State requesting the mission. The results of the INIR mission are expected to help the Member State to develop an action plan to fill any gaps, which in turn will help the development of the national nuclear infrastructure.