Site approval for Egyptian nuclear power plant

10 April 2019

Egypt's Nuclear Power Plants Authority (NPPA) has received a site approval permit for the El Dabaa site from the Egyptian Nuclear Regulation and Radiological Authority (ENRRA). The permit acknowledges that the site and its specific conditions comply with national and international requirements.

Egyptian and Russian officials pictured at the El Dabaa site in 2018 (Image: NPPA)

The site approval permit marked the achievement of the first major milestone in the licensing process for the El Dabaa plant, the NPPA said. The approval was issued in early March following a "detailed comprehensive review" by ENRRA of the application documents submitted by the NPPA in 2017, the authority added. These included: data about the reactor installation; site data and characteristics; design basis and concept; and a project Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA) report reviewed by the Environmental Affairs Agency.

To support the review, the government of Egypt had invited an independent review mission by the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA), the NPPA said. This focused on the Site Evaluation Report and the radiological part of the EIA report, and was provided within the framework of a Site and External Events Design (SEED) review mission held in late January. The review paid specific attention to safety-related site characteristics and external natural and human-induced hazards, including earthquakes, tsunamis, and human induced external events, the NPPA said.

"Issuance of the Site Approval Permit is an acknowledgement that the El Dabaa site and its specific conditions comply with national and IAEA requirements for NPP [nuclear power plant] sites," the NPPA said. "Site specific conditions must be appropriately considered in the design of the NPP to ensure the future safe and reliable operation of the nuclear installations."

The site approval permit is issued for four nuclear units. All other permits within the nuclear licensing process are issued for each unit separately, the NPPA said. The site approval permit is a condition for obtaining the next licensing document: a construction permit authorising the implementation of any nuclear related works at the El Dabaa site.

Four Russian-designed VVER-1200 pressurised water reactors are planned for El Dabaa, which is on the Mediterranean coast, 170 kilometres west of Alexandria and Zafraana on the Gulf of Suez. Russian State Atomic Energy Corporation Rosatom is to develop the plant, which will be owned and operated by the NPPA. With a nameplate capacity of 4.8GWe, the plant is expected to account for about 10% of Egypt’s power generation capacity to meet the country’s increasing demand for electricity, according to Rosatom.

Researched and written by World Nuclear News