The implementation of El-Dabaa NPP (nuclear Power Plant) Project will bring to success many years of Egyptian effort to introduce nuclear power in Egypt. The plans for the construction of El-Dabaa NPP date back to the late 1970s with the start of the site selection process.
El-Dabaa NPP Project envisages the construction of four 1200 MWe Pressurized Water Reactor (PWR) units each using the Russian VVER-1200 (AES-2006) design at El-Dabaa site. Pressurized Water Reactors (PWR), selected for El-Dabaa NPP, are the most common reactor type worldwide.
El-Dabaa Site is located along the Northern West Coast of Egypt on the Mediterranean Sea. The Project Owner and the Operator for El-Dabaa NPP Project is the Nuclear Power Plants Authority (NPPA) of Egypt and the Main Contractors are entities from the ROSATOM group, which will provide Engineering, Procurement and Construction (EPC) services, nuclear fuel supply, operation support and maintenance, and spent nuclear fuel treatment
Safety & Reliability of the nuclear reactor design had the top priority in the process of selecting the nuclear technology provider for El-Dabaa NPP.
The design selected for El-Dabaa NPP belongs to the latest Generation 3+ Nuclear Reactors, which is fully compliant with all post-Fukushima International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) requirements.
El-Dabaa NPP Project will be implemented in three main stages. The ongoing first stage, which started in December 2017, covers the activities aimed at preparing for the NPP construction and last from 2 years and half to four years .
The second stage, which will start after obtaining the construction permit, covers the construction process and comprises all works related to construction, installation, training and preparations to commence the operational tests and this stage last for five years and half.
The last stage before the commencement of operations of the NPP covers the commissioning and testing activities, which will take place after obtaining the permit for pre-operational tests and last until preliminary handover of the unit and issuance of the operation license which last for 11 months.
The progress of El-Dabaa NPP is linked directly with the Licensing process that is aimed to ensure the plant safety through application of legal instruments. This process will result in obtaining all required licenses and permits for the NPP siting, construction, commissioning and operation which be issued by ENRRA.
The Project will enable the involvement of several dozen Egyptian companies in the construction process. The first unit is expected to have a localization level of at least 20%, while subsequent units are expected to be even more localized up to 35% for the fourth unit.
El-Dabaa Site comprises an area located along the Northern West Coast of Egypt on the Mediterranean Sea. El-Dabaa Site was originally selected in 1980 as preferred candidate site among several examined potential sites on the various Egyptian coastlines (Mediterranean Sea, Gulf of Suez and Red Sea). Since then, the site has been the subject of detailed studies for more than 40 years from various aspects – geological, geophysical, hydrological, seismological, topographical, demographical, meteorological, geotechnical, infrastructural, etc. The investigations have proved El-Dabaa’s characteristics to be the most suitable for developing a NPP. This has been confirmed by the various expert missions and workshops conducted in the period 1985 – 2019 by the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA), which were aimed to assist NPPA in reviewing El-Dabaa site safety issues.
In 2017, the NPPA submitted the Site Evaluation Report (SER) and Environmental Impact Assessment Report (EIAR) to the Egyptian Nuclear and Radiological Regulatory Authority (ENRRA) as part of the Application for Site Approval Permit.
In early March 2019, the NPPA received from ENRRA the Site Approval Permit (SAP) for El-Dabaa site, issued as a conclusion of a detailed comprehensive review of the documents encompassed in the Application for Site Approval. The site approval issued by the ENNRA is an acknowledgement that El-Dabaa site is assessed as safe and suitable for placement of an NPP in compliance with the current Egyptian requirements and international regulatory safety standards.
Obtaining the Site Approval Permit constitutes the completion of the first step in El-Dabaa NPP licensing process.
Safety of the nuclear power reactor design had the top priority for NPPA in the process of selecting the nuclear technology provider for El-Dabaa NPP.
The design selected for El-Dabaa NPP belongs to the latest Generation 3+ Nuclear Plants, which is fully compliant with all post-Fukushima IAEA requirements.
The safe and reliable operation of El-Dabaa NPP with minimum impact on the environment under any condition is ensured through the following design features:
- Improved safety systems
- Increased use of passive safety systems, which do not require power or human intervention
- A double containment structure for prevention of radioactivity release into the environment
- A Core Catcher to retain the radioactive materials in the highly unlikely event of a severe accident.
Generation 3+ Nuclear Reactors:
The latest Generation 3+ nuclear reactors are characterized by the following specific features:
- Evolutionary improvements in design resulting from the experience from design and operation of Generations 2 and 3 NPPs;
- Improved fuel technology with extended refueling intervals and higher efficiency resulting in reduced amount of generated radioactive waste;
- Superior thermal efficiency;
- Standardized design to expedite licensing and reduce construction time;
- Passive safety systems and improved design provisions against external and internal hazards with due consideration of the lessons learned from the Fukushima accident; and
- Increased reliability and longer operational lifetime, typically 60 years.
Radiation and radioactive substances have many beneficial applications that support our everyday life. However, just as any industrial activity yields benefits and incurs risks, the use of radiation is also associated with risks, even very unlikely. Therefore, activities, such as the medical uses of radiation, the operation of nuclear installations, the production, transportation and use of radioactive materials, are subject to very strict standards of safety. To minimize and eliminate the risks, all facilities and activities using radiation have to be assessed, controlled and authorized by the State.
When the State competent authority is confident that the facility or activity are safe and the risk to the workers and the public are minimal and within the allowed limits, they can authorize them by issuing a license or a permit.
1. Nuclear Licensing:
The Law on Regulation of Nuclear and Radiation Activities promulgated by Law No. 7 of the year 2010, as amended by Law No. 211 of the year 2017 and the Executive Regulations specify very strict requirements on the safety of the NPPs. The Law establishes the main stages of the lifetime of the NPP that require the attention and authorization by the State. The fundamental principle, integrated in the Law, is that the operating organization has the prime responsibility for safety. Respectively, NPPA as the Owner, Licensee and future Operator, is responsible to ensure the safety of El-Dabaa NPP throughout its entire lifetime.
The State authority, vested with the responsibility and competence to verify that NPP safety is ensured, is the Egyptian Nuclear and Radiological Regulatory Authority (ENRRA). ENRRA carries out all regulatory work related to nuclear and radiological facilities, activities, and practices in the Arab Republic of Egypt, including the issuance of the required licenses and permits.
ENRRA has the needed authority to regulate such activities. The legislation establishes the main stages, at which ENRRA license or permit is needed. The main stages of the licensing process for El-Dabaa NPP and expected durations are shown below.
2. Non-Nuclear Licenses and Permits:
There are other areas that require obtaining of specific authorizations from competent authorities other than ENRRA. These are supplementary activities that include but are not limited to construction of buildings and structures with temporary or permanent function, environmental impacts from the installation, water and electricity supply to the NPP site, etc.
The implementation of El-Dabaa NPP within the foreseen timeline and with the due safety and quality requires a strict time management, planning, schedule monitoring and corrective action implementation, as and when such steps are necessary.
Although El-Dabaa NPP Project has been affected by the COVID-19 pandemic, the NPPA has managed to reduce its negative impact and keeps a steady pace in implementing the project. With the strong support of the political leadership and dedicated efforts of all Project team members a number of milestones have been achieved so far.
In March 2019, the NPPA was granted a Site Selection Approval Permit. In June 2021, the NPPA accomplished another important step by submitting to ENRRA the Construction Permit Application. The issuance of the Construction permit will mark the beginning of the nuclear related works for the first two units. In July, the start was given for manufacturing the long lead equipment requiring the longest production times such as “the Core Catcher”.
Meanwhile, the site infrastructure is being prepared, which includes roads, residential complexes, schools, sports facilities, docking facility for heavy-load equipment, etc.
Joint committee of localization (JCL)
- The localization plan envisages that, by 2029, will have Egyptian heavy industry and construction participate by 35% and becomes main equipment supplier for spare parts during operation.
- Categorization of the Egyptian potential companies according to Localization streams.
- Providing training for Egyptian potential Companies.
- Developing the capabilities of Egyptian potential Companies to meet the technical requirements of the project.
- Assisting the Egyptian potential Companies to understand the bidding process of tenders related to the El Dabaa Nuclear Power Plant Project.
Objectives of JCL:
- Fulfillment by the Russian Contractor of its obligations under the EPC Contract in respect of localization of technology and achieving the local participation rate.
- The selection process of the Egyptian national companies and local subcontractors which may participate in the Project in accordance with the determined tendering rules specified by the Russian Contractor.
- Education of the Egyptian companies and local Egyptian subcontractors of:
- The conditions and requirements to be met if they are to participate in the project.
- The regulations specified by the Russian Contractor in respect of tendering, eligibility and evaluation rules.
- Arranging communications including technical audits visits and meetings with Egyptian companies and local subcontractors to evaluate their technical and financial capabilities.
- Follow up the recommendations issued for Egyptian companies and local subcontractors by the contractor to enter the relevant project tenders.
For more information, Please visit: https://nppa.gov.eg/jcl/
To register, Please visit: https://nppa.gov.eg/jcl/company-registration/
Last Updated on October 10, 2021