First tier of El Dabaa unit 1's inner containment completed

20 May 2024

The completion of the first tier of the inner containment structure for the first unit at the El Dabaa nuclear power plant in Egypt is one of the key events expected this year at the construction site where more than 20,000 people are working.

(Image: Rosatom)

El Dabaa will be Egypt's first nuclear power plant, and the first in Africa since South Africa's Koeberg was built nearly 40 years ago. The Rosatom-led project is about 320 kilometres north-west of Cairo and will comprise four VVER-1200 units, like those already in operation at the Leningrad and Novovoronezh nuclear power plants in Russia, and the Ostrovets plant in Belarus.

The inner containment is a cylindrical reinforced concrete structure, which will house the nuclear reactor and equipment of the primary circuit. It has a dome on top and, together with the outer containment structure, is a key element of the designed safety measures. The first tier of the inner containment consists of 12 segments, each weighing between 60 and 80 tonnes.

Chairman of the Egyptian Nuclear Power Plants Authority (NPPA) Amged El-Wakeel and the First Deputy Director General of Rosatom, Andrey Petrov, were among those who visited the site on Thursday to mark the moment and to discuss progress on the project.

El-Wakeel said: "We regularly come to the construction site of the El-Dabaa nuclear power plant to check the progress of work ... many other key events are planned for the current year, which started with the pouring of first concrete for unit 4 in January."

Petrov said there had been good progress at the site with work taking place at 130 different locations and "by the end of 2024, we plan to reach a project completion rate of 30%". He also praised the close working relationship of the Russian and Egyptian sides - "without this component it is difficult to talk about the successful implementation of the project and there is no doubt that with such a high level of cooperation we will be able to fulfill Egypt’s long-standing dream - to build the most modern and safe nuclear power plant in the world".

Under the 2017 contracts, Rosatom will not only build the plant, but will also supply Russian nuclear fuel for its entire life cycle. It will also assist Egyptian partners in training personnel and plant maintenance for the first 10 years of its operation. Rosatom is also contracted to build a special storage facility and supply containers for storing used nuclear fuel. Construction of the nuclear power plant began in July 2022.

Researched and written by World Nuclear News