Egypt’s Sisi meets Russian energy giant head over nuclear power plant deal

Egyptian President Abdel-Fattah al-Sisi held talks on Sunday with the chairman of Russia’s state-owned nuclear energy company, over the establishment of a nuclear power plant in Egypt’s coastal Matrouh province.

“The president asserted Egypt’s keenness to start carrying out the project and finalizing its relevant contracts soon,” said Presidential Spokesman Alaa Youssef in a statement.

Sisi told Alexey Likhachev, the chief executive officer of Roseatom State Atomic Energy Corporation, that the project of building a nuclear power station in Dabaa “represents a new symbol for friendship and cooperation between Egypt and Russia.”

For his part, Likhachev said that his corporation attaches importance to the project in Egypt and looks forward to starting working on it as soon as possible.

Egypt and Russia signed an initial agreement in 2015 to build a four-reactor nuclear power station in Egypt by 2022, but the final deal has not been signed yet.

In May 2016, Egypt approved the use of a 25-billion-U.S.-dollar loan from Russia for the nuclear power plant construction, according to official MENA news agency.

The Russian media reports said that Russia will cover 85 percent of the costs of the power plant and Egypt will provide the remaining 15 percent, noting that Egypt will repay the loan over a 22-year period starting from 2029, at a three-percent annual interest rate.