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Ceremony for pouring the first concrete into the foundation of power unit of El-Dabaa NPP

January 23, 2024, The Kremlin, Moscow

President of Russia and President of Egypt Abdel Fattah el-Sisi took part in a ceremony, held via videoconference, for pouring the first concrete into the foundation of the fourth power unit of the Egyptian El-Dabaa NPP.

The project to build Egypt's first nuclear power plant is being implemented by Rosatom State Corporation in accordance with the Russian-Egyptian Intergovernmental Agreement of 2015. Four power units with a total capacity of 4,800 megawatts are expected to be built.

* * *

President of Russia Vladimir Putin: Mr President, friends.

I would like to warmly welcome you and all the participants in today's ceremony for pouring the first concrete into the foundation of the fourth power unit of the El-Dabaa nuclear power plant.

In fact, this is the beginning of a new stage in the construction of the first nuclear power plant in Egypt, a project of major importance for Russian-Egyptian relations, which will undoubtedly make a significant contribution to the development of the Egyptian economy and help strengthen its energy base.

We will contribute to the creation of modern production facilities, skilled jobs, and the resolution of social issues. We will do this together because the new energy system allows us to do all this. This is truly a flagship project in the best traditions of our bilateral cooperation.

Let me remind you that in the second half of the last century, Soviet specialists played a very active role in restoring Egypt's economy and improving its defence capability, and helped build large industrial and energy facilities, such as the Aswan Dam.

Many jointly created enterprises are still operating successfully and continue to bring tangible benefits to the people of Egypt. The multifaceted and mutually beneficial cooperation between our countries continues to develop consistently. It is true that Egypt is our close friend and strategic partner. Our interaction is based on the principles of equality, mutual respect, and consideration of each other’s interests, in accordance with the letter and spirit of the Agreement on Comprehensive Partnership and Strategic Cooperation, which we signed with Mr el-Sisi in 2018 in Sochi.

Bilateral trade is growing actively and has increased by 20 percent in the first ten months of 2023. Major joint projects are being implemented, including in the fuel and energy sector, agriculture, and food cooperation. Work is underway to create a Russian industrial zone in the Suez Canal region.

New promising opportunities for boosting our fruitful cooperation are emerging in connection with Egypt’s membership in  BRICS. I want to emphasise that from the very beginning, Russia sincerely supported the Egyptian party’s desire to become a full member of this association. During Russia’s BRICS chairmanship this year, we will do our best to help Egypt in joining the organisation’s work in the most efficient way.

We plan to hold over 200 BRICS events and we hope that Egyptian representatives will take an active part in them. And, of course, we look forward to your presence, Mr el-Sisi, at the BRICS summit in Kazan this October.

I must say that the El-Dabaa Nuclear Power Plant project was launched with mine and the President of Egypt’s direct participation. Mr Minister just informed us about it.

I clearly recall that the document on the enactment of the contract for the construction of the power plant was signed during my visit to Egypt in December 2017. We have been monitoring the implementation of this contract together since then.

Overall, there is regular contact with Mr el-Sisi. Last year, we met during the second Russia–Africa Summit. We regularly discuss all issues on the international and regional agendas that are of importance to our countries. In particular, we exchange views and coordinate our positions regarding the tragic developments in the Palestinian-Israeli conflict, and we also address humanitarian issues.

As for nuclear power generation, I would like to say that Rosatom is building four power units with an aggregate capacity of 4,800 megawatts at the nuclear power plant in Egypt. This was already mentioned. The Generation III+ reactor units can produce up to 37 billion kilowatt-hours of electricity a year, or about 10 percent of the country’s electricity consumption. Unlike coal and gas power stations, nuclear power plants will not emit carbon dioxide into the atmosphere, which will certainly have a beneficial effect on the environment and people’s health.

Rosatom is a trusted leader in the field of nuclear power generation. They use the most advanced engineering solutions and economically effective and reliable technologies in the construction of nuclear power plants. At the same time, it strictly complies with Russian safety standards, IAEA standards and regulations and the strictest environmental requirements.

I would also like to mention the coordinated work of Russian and Egyptian engineers and workers at the El-Dabaa construction site. Thanks to their efforts, the construction of the power units is proceeding in accordance with the approved timeframe and solutions are being found to the most complicated engineering, assembly, and technical issues. Over 16,000 people work at the project every day, the majority of them Egyptians who are working side by side with Russian personnel.

Moreover, the implementation of a considerable number of contracts that are vital for the future nuclear power plant has been localised in Egypt, which offers great opportunities for involving Egyptian businesses in the project.

Incidentally, Russia is training highly skilled industry personnel for Egypt within the framework of cooperation under the El-Dabaa project, as a Rosatom representative, the company’s head, has said. Over 90 Egyptian students have received education in nuclear engineering at our universities, and another 150 Egyptian students are now studying there. In other words, we are providing assistance to our Egyptian friends in all spheres of the nuclear project life cycle, including our obligations for long-term supply of nuclear fuel, technical maintenance of the nuclear power plant, and spent nuclear fuel handling. We are doing everything possible to help develop a fundamentally new industry – nuclear power engineering – in Egypt.

In conclusion, I would like to thank all the Russian and Egyptian participants in the project for their selfless and dedicated work and to wish them all the best.

Thank you for your attention.

President of Egypt Abdel Fattah el-Sisi (retranslated): In the Name of Allah, the Most Beneficent, the Most Merciful!

Mr President of the Russian Federation Vladimir Putin,

Ladies and gentlemen,

First, I would like to express our sincere gratitude for and joy over the noble participation of my dear friend, His Excellency President Vladimir Putin in this ceremony to mark the pouring of the first concrete into the foundation for the fourth power unit at the El-Dabaa Nuclear Power Plant; this means that the Republic of Egypt can start the main stage of construction of all power units.

I would also like to thank all those present at the ceremony.

Ladies and gentlemen,

I am delighted and proud to share this historical moment with you, an event that will go down in the history and memory of our people as evidence of the undaunted resolve of our great people, whose determination and efforts have been creating our history over many centuries. Today, they are writing a new page in our history by realising the dream of all the Egyptians to have peaceful nuclear power plants and reaffirming their resolve to continue on the path of development and construction towards Egypt’s bright future.

The great event that we are witnessing today represents a bright new page in the close cooperation between Egypt and the Russian Federation. This latest achievement has been added to the long history of achievements in Egyptian-Russian cooperation. It reflects the scale of both sides’ efforts to work towards implementing Egypt’s national project to build the El-Dabaa NPP. This project is moving faster than the agreed-upon schedule; it is overcoming the time restrictions and other difficulties. This reflects the fact that the Egyptian state attaches great significance to the energy sector, and that it believes in its vitally important role as the main driving force of economic growth and as a pillar of economic and social development in accordance with the Sustainable Development Strategy (SDS): Egypt Vision 2030.

Ladies and gentlemen,

The current crisis in global energy confirms the significance of the Egyptian state’s strategic long-term policy on reinstating the national peaceful nuclear programme because it facilitates a safe, affordable, and long-term power supply and helps reduce dependence on fossil fuels and prevent price fluctuations.

Adding nuclear power to the energy balance on which Egypt relies for power-generation purposes has vital significance for meeting specific demands. It meets Egypt’s demand for electricity needed to implement economic and social development plans. It also helps expand the use of new and renewable energy sources for attaining environmental sustainability and combating climate change.

In conclusion, I would like to thank His Excellency President Putin once again for taking part in this event. I would also like to express my deep gratitude and appreciation to the staff of the Russian general contractor Atomstroyexport and the Nuclear Power Plants Authority of Egypt which oversee the implementation of this great national project. I wish you good luck in the upcoming stages of the project. Thank you very much.

Before I finish, I would like to address my brother, President Putin. I would like to express my deep gratitude regarding your support for this project. Owing to your personal support, I believe that we have been achieving major successes in implementing this project from December 2017 to this day. Thank you very much.

I would like to thank everyone.

May the peace of Allah descend on you and His mercy and blessings.

January 23, 2024, The Kremlin, Moscow