South Korea in $2.2 bln deal with Russia for Egypt nuclear plant

Russia has a long history of pursuing large-scale energy projects in Egypt, often as part of a broader effort to challenge US political, military and economic influence.

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South Korea signed a 3 trillion won ($2.2 billion) deal with Russia’s state-owned Rosatom to provide buildings and components for a new Egyptian nuclear plant.

Korea Hydro & Nuclear Power won a contract to supply buildings, equipment and materials for Egypt’s El Dabaa project, according to a statement from South Korea’s energy ministry.

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The state-owned Korean company, which was selected as the sole bidder for the portion of El Dabaa project in December 2021, will construct the main and auxiliary buildings and structures of the turbine islands for the units between 2023-2029.

Rosatom began construction last month of Egypt’s first nuclear power plant, located 300 kilometers (186 miles) northwest of Cairo. The El Dabaa project will include four reactors with a 1.2 gigawatt capacity each.

South Korea’s President Yoon Suk Yeol hailed the deal on his Facebook Thursday, calling it an illustration of the country’s “excellent nuclear power technology.”

Vice Trade Minister Park Il-joon told reporters Thursday that South Korea has closely consulted with the US about the deal, according to Yonhap.

“Our Trade Ministry, Foreign Ministry and the National Security Office explained that the deal was not in any conflict with the position of the US, and the US understood that,” Park said.

Rosatom, a major global supplier in the nuclear industry, is one of the few big Russian state companies still not subject to sanctions imposed by the US and its allies over the Kremlin’s invasion of Ukraine.

“We at Rosatom strongly believe that nuclear cooperation must not stop in these turbulent times,” Boris Arseev, director for international business at Rosatom, said at the signing ceremony, according to a company press release.

Russia has a long history of pursuing large-scale energy projects in Egypt, often as part of a broader effort to challenge US political, military and economic influence. The Soviet Union helped build the Aswan High Dam in the 1960s.

Read more: Russia’s Rosatom says Egypt nuclear talks in final stages

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