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The nuclear explosion, which occurred during a missile test on a naval platform off the coast of Arkhangelsk region in the far north of Russia, will not affect the establishment of the Egyptian nuclear plant and the timetable for its implementation, Chairperson of the Nuclear Power Plant Authority (NPPA), Amgad El Wakeel, said.

He added that Egypt is in the preparatory or pre-construction phase, which extends for two and a half years, of which more than one and a half years have passed, where Egypt seeks to receive the construction permit within the second half of next year.

El Wakeel stressed the commitment of the company executing the project, Rosatom, when building the plant to the safety standards approved by the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA), and the reactors will not run until after reviewing all the procedures for security and safety and obtain permission to load fuel.

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The planned Dabaa nuclear plant received the site’s approval from the Nuclear and Radiological Regulatory Authority on 10 March of this year. This is an acknowledgment that the site and its characteristics comply with the Egyptian specifications and IAEA requirements, which is reflected in ensuring the safe and reliable operation of nuclear facilities.

Vice President of Rosatom, Sosnin Gregory, said in an earlier statement that the construction work at the Dabaa reactor is in accordance with the agreed schedule in the contract between the Egyptian and Russian sides, and it is planned to pour concrete in the first nuclear reactor in July 2020.

Yassin Ibrahim, a nuclear power expert and former head of the NPPA, said that the nuclear reactors to be launched in Dabaa are of the third generation and enjoy the highest levels of safety. They come with an automated shutdown mechanism, he said, noting that a reactor for energy is different from the blast that occurred during a missile test in Russia. 

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“If we want to compare to ensure nuclear safety and the occurrence of no radiation or accidents, the comparison must be done with another third-generation reactor. Although the Russian side announced an explosion in systems containing radioactive materials, there are conflicting data on the high levels of radiation in areas inside Russia,” he added.

He said that Egypt has a nuclear emergency plan and is long overdue in having a peaceful nuclear power plant. The error and risk coefficient is non-existent and the ratio is “zero” because if something goes wrong, the station shuts off automatically to avoid any radiation leaks. 

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He added that the “container” of the reactor endured the collision of a 400-tonne aircraft loaded with fuel, flying at a speed of 150 metres / second, and a tsunami up to 14 metres.

Nasser Darwish, professor of concrete structures and bridges at the Faculty of Engineering, Alexandria University, recommended the need for in-depth studies on mass and high density concrete and protection from nuclear radiation and the impact of high temperature, as well as the development of materials and concrete with engineering characteristics suitable for nuclear plant installations in the Egyptian environment, including the use of nanotechnology.

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