Russia and Egypt agree on nuclear fuel deal

MEED    9 April 2020 (Last Updated April 9th, 2020 10:05)

Russia and Egypt agree on nuclear fuel deal
El-Debaa is the country’s first nuclear power plant and will be located in Egypt’s Matrouh province on the Mediterranean coast. Credit: vrx / Shutterstock.

The Egyptian Atomic Energy Authority and Russia’s Rosatom TVEL subsidiary, Novosibirsk Chemical Concentrates Plant (NCCP), have agreed on a ten-year contract for the supply of low-enriched nuclear fuel components for Egypt’s ETTR-2 research reactor.

The fuel components include uranium and aluminium items, Rosatom TVEL said in a statement.

ETTR-2 focuses on ‘research in particle physics and material studies, as well as for production of radioisotopes’.

It is located at a nuclear research facility in Inshas in Egypt’s Sharqiya governorate.

TVEL senior vice-president for commerce and international business Oleg Grigoriyev said: “The long-term contract is a logical follow-up to a number of contractual documents for shipments of fuel components to Egypt, successfully fulfilled by NCCP in the past three years.”

According to Rosatom TVEL, the business development prospects in Egypt also embrace supply of nuclear fuel to all four power units of the planned 4,800MW El-Debaa nuclear power plant for its entire operation period.

El-Debaa is the country’s first nuclear power plant and will be located in Egypt’s Matrouh province on the Mediterranean coast.

The company said the fuel contract for the El-Debaa nuclear power plant came into force in 2017.

It is understood the Central Design & Technological Institute, another TVEL subsidiary, is involved as a design subcontractor for the storage facility for spent nuclear fuel from El-Debaa.

In January, Egypt’s Nuclear Power Plants Authority (NPPA) awarded Australia’s Worley, formerly WorleyParsons, a consultancy services contract for the plant.

Under the contract, which is valid until 2030, Worley will provide the following services:

  • Engineering and design review
  • Project management
  • Procurement
  • Construction management
  • Training
  • Procedure development
  • Quality assurance
  • Commissioning and other related activities

Russian state nuclear company Rosatom will develop Egypt’s first nuclear power plant. In November, Russia’s Atomkomplekt received bids for the base camp and facilities contract required for initial earthworks and ground blasting.

Three Russian and eight Egyptian firms submitted a bid for the contract, which has a bid price capped at $23m.

The client also tendered and received bids for earth levelling works in October. The bidders include eight Egyptian and two Russian firms.

Next tenders

Succeeding tenders include contracts for the turnkey construction of part of the construction and logistics base that has critical path facilities, as well as for the construction and logistics base with no critical path facilities. The first package has a budget of $88m, while the second has a budget of $109m.

A third tender is expected for the first stage of the construction of the temporary workers’ accommodation, which has a $42m budget.

The first major tender for the construction of a nuclear island, turbine island and auxiliary buildings is expected at a later stage.

In July 2018, Egypt awarded US-based GE a contract to supply equipment and services for the project. The contract will involve the supply of four nuclear turbine generators with a capacity of 1,200MW each.

Russia’s role

Egypt signed the final agreements and notice to proceed (NTP) with Rosatom for the nuclear power plant project in December 2017 during meetings between Egypt’s President Abdul Fattah el-Sisi and Russian President Vladimir Putin in Cairo.

Egypt and Russia signed the initial intergovernmental agreement for the North African state’s first nuclear facility in November 2015.

In May 2016, Egypt signed an agreement with Russia for a $25bn loan to cover 85% of the project cost.

Egypt expects to repay the loan in 43 instalments over 22 years with a 3% interest rate. Instalment payments will start in October 2029. Once the construction work starts, the plant is expected to take nine years to build and commission.

The contract covers the development of a plant equipped with four reactors with a capacity of 1,200MW each.

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