Alexander Voronkov, CEO of ROSATOM Regional Center in Middle East and Northern Africa region, confirmed that ElDabaa nuclear project is one of the main projects implemented by Rosatom in Africa now, where all work is carried out according to the specified schedule, he pointed out that the safety systems in ElDabaa constitute represents nearly 60% of the total construction ofhe nuclear plant to ensure the safe operation of nuclear power plants and avoid the exposure to human error during operation.
Can you share with us the details of the activities that Rosatom is responsible for implementing at ElDabaa project to build a NPP in Egypt?
The company is the largest producer of electrical energy in Russia. It provides nearly 19% of the country's energy needs. Rosatom ranks the first in the world in uranium enrichment, and the second globally in terms of uranium reserves and the fourth in terms of production, in addition to providing 17% of the nuclear fuel market. Rosatom is also the only company in the world that provides integrated solutions in the field of clean energy production, including the design and construction of nuclear power plants. It also provides comprehensive nuclear services ranging from uranium mining and enrichment and fuel production to nuclear energy production and waste management.
What are the most prominent international projects for Rosatom?
Rosatom takes over the construction of 36 power units in 12 countries and provides a modern design for a VVER-1200 GEN3+ power plant that includes all public safety requirements and standards set by the International Atomic Energy Agency after the Fukushima disaster.
What are the most important areas of cooperation between the company and African countries?
After ElDabaa project to build the first Egyptian nuclear power station, one of the main projects that Rosatom is implementing on the African continent at present. The company's activities in Africa are not limited to this project only, and the potential for using nuclear technologies in African countries opens up tremendous prospects. Nuclear power plants provide electrical energy in sufficient quantities for sustainable development. One of the basic needs of the African continent. At the current stage, companies pay a lot to be connected with electricity networks and suffer from high prices. African countries are also witnessing rapid population growth, which amounts to about 3%. Many African countries have adopted programs aiming to develop various sectors of the economy, stimulating employment and encouraging social economic growth.
How does the company evaluate the future of nuclear energy in Egypt?
Egypt has entered the global nuclear club, and there will be tremendous momentum for economic and technological development awaiting it, including the energy sector and other fields such as industry, medicine, and agriculture. Any nuclear power plant, even in the construction phase, becomes a sustainable source of growth, and nuclear reactors represent important projects for infrastructure whose implementation stimulates development in various fields.
What do you think about the nuclear energy in the Middle East?
The Middle East and North Africa is a region rich in oil and gas. Nevertheless, the number of countries in the region that integrate clean energy sources, including nuclear energy, into their energy strategies is increasing. Several countries are implementing projects to build nuclear power plants built by Egypt, the Emirates, and Turkey. In addition to KSA that is willing to have its first nuclear power plant in the Kingdom. Nuclear energy is a stable source of low-cost energy for electricity production, and this is exactly what the countries of the region need.
What is the impact of using the nuclear energy on the economies?
Nuclear energy has been a stable source of clean and cheap electricity for 60 years. In terms of economy and cost, nuclear fuel used to power nuclear power plants is practically unaffected by price fluctuations in the global market.
What is the latest innovative solutions in ElDabaa NPP?
4 VVER reactors will be installed in the 3+ generation with a capacity of 1200 MW in the Egyptian nuclear plant, and this type of reactors considered the latest technology and the most secure reactors at the present time. VVER-1200 is features with a group of unique systems to guarantee safety following the international standards for safety. These systems help ensure safe operation of nuclear power plants and avoid a risk of human error.
What are the main challenges you’ve faced in Egypt? We succeeded in setting up an effective mechanism to interact with our Egyptian colleagues in the framework of the project, which allows to address all existing issues on a practical level, and the project goes forward according to the planned schedule.
How do you understand the level of scientific research among Egyptian scientists in the field of nuclear energy? What is the role of Egyptian experts in El Dabaa project?
Egypt has been conducting scientific research in the field of nuclear energy during more than half a century and thanks to the opening of the Department of Nuclear Energy in the Faculty of Engineering at the University of Alexandria, as well as building a reactor for scientific research based on Soviet technology in the seventies of the last century.
Is the participation of local companies in the implementation of the project will be limited to 20%, or is there an opportunity to increase its participation?
Rosatom pays great attention to localizing the project and we expect that the level of participation of local companies in the framework of building the first energy unit in ElDabaa will reach at least 20%, which is a relatively high rate, and it is clear that the level of localization the project will continue to rise gradually with the growth of the project.
There are fears among some citizens who are very concerned about nuclear energy, especially after the recent accident in Russia. What is your comment on that?
Citizens' concern about nuclear energy is mainly due to the lack of awareness and sufficient information about the safety of nuclear power plants and the benefits that nuclear energy and what it can bring to the country. Our main mission is to provide the community with all the necessary information and to speak with the citizen in a language they can understand.
What investment opportunities will Rosatom provide to Egyptian companies in the framework of ElDabaa project?
Nuclear reactors represent important infrastructure projects that stimulate their implementation. Development in various industries. The construction of nuclear power plants reflects positively on the country’s gross domestic product. We talk primarily about the growth of revenue from local subcontractors involved in construction work.
What are the most important activities that the company undertakes to raise general acceptance of its projects, especially in its social responsibility in Egypt?
In August 2019, Rosatom organized an international fishing tournament in Russia in which a team of fishermen from the Egyptian Matrouh Governorate ranked first, with the participation of fishermen from those countries that implement Rosatom operates in to show the safety of the NPPs and that it has no impact on the environment.