The outcome of Dabaa project in Egypt

The outcome of Dabaa project in Egypt

What are the motives for the Middle East to go nuclear? One answer is the need to reduce the dependency on fossil fuel but also the access to this technology.

Rosatom promotes the VVER 1200, not only as the latest Russian reactor, but also the safest third generation type. This type includes a large number of passive safety systems, such as the AP1000 (USA) and HPR1000 (China).

The VVER 1200 was retained in Egypt not because of the localization rate, which is generally low (20%) and mostly for civil engineering, but mostly to become the first country in Middle East that operates a Gen III nuclear power plant. You may ask, what about the Barakkah plant in the UAE? While Korea claims the APR1400 is the latest of its reactor, the experts in the market compare this technology to the CAP1000 in China, as a Gen 2+. Let’s not forget the deal between UAE and Korea was signed in …….. much before Fukushima accident.

The government signed the largest joint venture and strategic project with Russia since the High Dam in Aswan. This type of strategic project impacts the image of the country as a magnet for large international investments (USD 25 billion). The first part of the project will be operational in less than ten years, a tremendous challenge only overcome by KHNP in the UAE.

But from the industry perspective, when we compare with the projects in Turkey and Jordan, the transfer of technology is quite poor. Some equipment for the conventional island and BOP may be reviewed by Rosatom. But the company is well known to be lazy in sending local team to assess the industry, does not have a responsive team to the industry as regards to tenders, and finally quite evasive during B2B matchmaking in various summits.

Rosatom positions itself as the leader in the nuclear power market. A leader that is shown by example, as the creator of local supply chains for its domestic, regional and international domination. Such strategy will create ambassador for the Russian technology and increase Russian exports of technology and products outside of the nuclear.

Until then, these are just old ways of promotion: the one who has the biggest budget to implement its strategy claims to be the best. But this is outdated tactic. Rosatom should take as example the failure of the AP1000 in China, over sold by Westinghouse, and finally poorly implemented in Haiyan and Sanmen. Rosatom should also look at the failure of the EPR in Finland and France, a reactor considered as the safest in the world, but finally having so many issues of safety in the I&C, civil engineering, and reliability of the supply chain.

When a company wants to become the leader, it is essential that innovation and marketing become the main drivers of its strategy. In that regards, Dabaa project can only be a success if Rosatom decided to adjust the localization rate, not only in operation, but mostly in education, manufacturing and waste management.

Dareen El Mokadem

About Author

Arnaud Lefevre

Arnaud Lefevre is the Chief Executive Officer of Dynatom International. Arnaud is in charge of the international development of the business portfolio.