Egypt and Russia finalize Dabaa nuclear power deal


Egypt and Russia’s leaders finalized a deal to construct a new unit at Egypt’s Dabaa nuclear power plant on January 23rd, according to Reuters. 

Presidents Vladimir Putin and Abdel Fattah El-Sisi finalised the deal via video link, as Moscow expands its nuclear ambitions.

Egyptian state media claims the new unit will be the fourth and final to be built by Russian state corporation Rosatom at the Dabaa facility, expanding the plant’s capacity by 4.8 gigawatts.

Putin stated: “The cooperation between our two countries continues and is developing. Egypt is a close friend of ours and a strategic partner.”

READ: Theodore Karasik: The scramble for Africa by US & Russia

Egypt faces an increasing power demand due to a growing population of 105 million. The administration plans to diversify its energy sources and to position the country as a regional energy hub, exporting electricity to neighbouring countries.

The country has developed a surplus energy generation capacity since Sisi came to power in 2014 but has grappled with power cuts with recent heatwaves driving demand for cooling.

Egypt resorted to burning pollutant oil for domestic power due to a drop in liquified natural gas (LNG) production between 2022 and 2023. LNG is an important source of scarce foreign currency for Egypt and so, according to Sisi, expanding Egypt’s nuclear energy capacity is “crucial to meeting the growing demand for electrical energy.”

An agreement was signed between the countries in 2015 for the Russian construction of nuclear facilities in Egypt, with Russia extending a loan to the al-Sisi administration to cover construction costs.

Russia is also helping India, Hungary, and Turkey with the development of nuclear projects, with Rosatom also operating in China and Bangladesh.

Morocco ratified a similar deal with Russia on October 12th 2022, for the construction of nuclear power and water desalination plants in the kingdom.

READ: Martin Jay Morocco’s Bold Move with Russia Deal

The project would address areas in desperate need of an overhaul, reducing the country’s dependence on imported energy and strengthening its ability to tackle extreme drought. The shift from partnership with Washington to Moscow signifies a growing trend in African geopolitical matters.

Although, as Russia has become bogged down in Ukraine, there has been little development in the Rabat-Moscow partnership and the future of the deal appears uncertain.

In a March 9th 2023, Moroccan Minister for Energy Transition and Sustainable development, Leila Benali, told CNBC that the war in Ukraine had not derailed the kingdom’s energy transition.

Reuters / CNBC / Agencies


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