Why Nuclear Power Is the Way to Clean Energy for Egypt
The imminent El Dabaa nuclear power plant project is set to transform Egypt’s energy mix. UN energy expert Dr. Yousry A. Shady reflects why the project is good news for Egypt’s economy and the environment.
Egypt has recently implemented a new approach in making use of clean energy resources, including nuclear and renewables (wind, solar, biomass etc.). By 2022, Egypt aims to have a new power mix, where renewables represent 20% of the total electricity production nationwide.
Following the establishment and operation of 4 reactors at El Dabaa Nuclear Power Plant, it is projected that the nuclear power will represent 10% of the country's electricity production by 2026. In 2050, and after the economic improvements of nuclear power resources in Egypt, it is expected that nuclear power contribution in electricity production nationwide will jump to 50%.
Routinely, nuclear power plants are producing emission-free and clean energy. Rosatom is working extensively in developing safety of NPP, to ensure the highest standard of environmental protection.
Throughout our modern history, Russia (formerly Soviet Union) has helped Egypt in many fields, including but not limited to industrialization, and of course the building of High Dam in Aswan. The vital role of Russia in supporting Egypt in many crises and political dilemmas was very important in building a positive image of Russia among Egyptians. Contracting with Rosatom by direct order was a result of Russian excellence in nuclear technologies, in addition to Russia’s historically standing by Egypt in many ways.
The political factor wasn’t the only reason behind the choice of Rosatom to build the El Dabaa Power Plant, but also the technical excellence of the company, which has built and operated tens of VVER reactors all over the world. The newest type of these reactors are VVER-1000 and VVER-1200. There are about 50 operational reactors of the former type, with tens of VVER reactors still under construction.
Egypt has selected VVER-1200 reactors that belong to the 3+ generation, and are regarded to be the safest reactors in the world now. Rosatom has developed more than 8 different layers of safety, to ensure the highest standard of security in case of any malfunction.
All components of VVER-1200 reactors are Russian made, and thus they require no additional permits (contrarily to components manufactured by other nuclear countries). One of the key reasons why Egypt has selected Rosatom to build the plant is that Russia guarantees the provision of nuclear fuel throughout the operational lifetime of the four reactors at El Dabaa (the operational lifetime ranges from 60 to 80 years). Other benefits are the operation, cooperation and training contracts, in addition to the local contribution in building El Dabaa power plant.
The State Atomic Energy Corporation ROSATOM is one of the global technological leaders. The company has assets and competencies to work at all stages of the nuclear production chain from uranium mining to decommissioning of nuclear facilities and spent nuclear fuel management.ROSATOM brings together about 400 enterprises and organizations, including the world's only nuclear icebreaker fleet. It is the largest electricity generating company in Russia, accounting for 18.7% of the country’s total generation of electricity. ROSATOM is the third in the world in nuclear power generation.The corporation is the global leader in simultaneous implementation of NPP power units and has the largest portfolio of foreign construction projects (36 NPP units in 12 countries). ROSATOM manufactures equipment and produces isotopes for nuclear medicine, carries out research and material studies. It also assembles supercomputers and designs software as well as different nuclear and non-nuclear innovative products. The company has business ventures covering various clean energy projects, including wind energy. ROSATOM has second largest uranium reserves and 17% of the global nuclear fuel market.