Egypt to announce tender for first light water reactor this month

Electricity and Energy Minister Hassan Younis on Monday said the tender for Egypt’s first light water nuclear reactor to generate electricity would be announced this month, once the State Council has reviewed it.

He said bidders would submit offers for four units in the Al-Dabaa location, with a capacity ranging between 900 to 1650 megawatts each.

An informed source said bidders would have six months to submit their offers, ending mid-July, after which the ministry would need an additional six months to review them. The winning bidder’s contract would be signed in mid-2012.

“Light water reactors are the most widely used types in the world,” Younis explained, adding that the tender includes a unit that the ministry would sign for immediately, and another optional one that could be signed for in two years time.

Younis said the ministry’s 2011-2012 budget accounts for completing Al-Dabaa’s infrastructure as well as conducting studies for new sites. It also allows for consulting firm fees in addition to costs associated with preparing qualified human cadres.

Meanwhile, experts in the field of peaceful atomic energy use advised that the reactor should be equipped to desalinate sea water since Egypt is on the verge of a water “anemia.” They advised using desalinated water for desert cultivation.

Former Atomic Energy Authority President Hisham Fouad Ali said the idea of nuclear energy water desalination was first propounded in the 1960s. “But Egypt’s nuclear program was stopped more than once during that period,” he said.

Translated from the Arabic Edition.

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