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Wednesday, 13 December 2017

Egypt to receive first tranche of Russian loan for Dabaa in January -sources

Egypt will reportedly receive the first tranche of a loan from Russia for the construction the Dabaa nuclear power plant in January, sources at the Electricity Ministry tell Daily News Egypt. Russia is expected to cover 85% of the plant’s construction costs, but the initial amount will be used to cover the costs of nuclear reactor designs and additional studies on safety and environmental impact of the USD 30 bn facility, the agreement for which President Abdel Fattah El Sisi signed when Russian counterpart Vladimir Putin visited earlier this week.

Construction should officially start in 2020, once the Russian nuclear energy company Rosatom obtains the necessary approvals on the exact location and designs from the Egyptian Atomic Energy Authority (EAEA), which are also a prerequisites for the issuing of commercial licenses, the sources add. Electricity Minister Mohamed Shaker said on Monday that commercial operations on the first nuclear reactor, with a generation capacity of 1.2 GW, should begin in 2026.

Could red tape delay construction? The EAEA will not only have to review site plans, technical studies, and environment impact reports before giving its approval — the project will also need a sign-off from the Environment Ministry before construction can begin, sources tell Al Borsa. They did not state whether the recently-established Nuclear Power Plant Authority, which would be directly responsible for the regulating plants, will be required to weigh in as well.

While the EAEA sifts through the Dabaa paperwork, a delegation from Russia’s State Duma is expected in Cairo today to discuss security cooperation with the House Defense and National Security Committee, Ahram Gate reports. The visit comes just a few short weeks after Russia and Egypt signed an agreement allowing each to use the other’s airspaces and air bases for warplanes.

In other Russia news, a feasibility study on an Egyptian logistics and trade hub in Russia will be completed in two months, Egyptian-Russian Business Council Alaa Ezz said, according to state news agency MENA. The logistics zone, which was first announced by the Trade and Industry Ministry in 2016, will be used to market and sell Egyptian exports in Russia. "The hub will focus in its first phase on agricultural and food products," he added.

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