Dr. Yousry Abu Shady
As Egypt is standing on the verge of starting the construction of its first nuclear power plant at El Dabaa, it is becoming obvious that the country and the Matrouh province, where the plant will be located are in more a much more profound and far-reaching transformation than just the energy sector.
For a case in point, it makes sense to take a look at the impact on the social and economic life of the local community produced by the nuclear power plant built by the same company, Rosatom, and featuring the same type of reactor (VVER-1200) as the future El Dabaa NPP.
Our journey will take us to the central Russia town of Novovoronezh, home to more than 30,000 people and the world’s first Generation 3+ nuclear power unit (Unit 6, commissioned in early 2017).
For decades, the Novovoronezh NPP has been supplying the entire Voronezh region (population 2.3 m) with electricity, meeting 85% of the region’s power demands and 91% of Novovoronezh’s energy needs, and powering more than 20 of the region’s large industry enterprises. But the power generation, while being crucial to the region’s development, is just the tip of the iceberg.
The Novovoronezh NPP is the largest employer in the region, providing thousands of secure jobs with an above-average pay scale for local specialists of many trades (operation & maintenance personnel, engineers, lab staff and others).
Not only is the plant also the region’s single largest taxpayer, but an agreement between Rosatom and the Voronezh region governorate also ensures that additional tax revenues from Rosatom enterprises into the local budget go towards the region’s development – specifically, towards the renovation of residential streets and house blocks and the construction of Novovoronezh’s new multipurpose stadium.
Furthermore, as the key enterprise in the region, the Novovoronezh NPP has always taken seriously its commitment to good citizenship, investing in and supporting social projects and initiatives, and working closely with the city of Novovoronezh’s authorities to ensure the local population’s well-being.
A particular focus has historically been education and youth policy, with the Novovoronezh NPP funding the construction and renovation of sporting and schooling facilities around Novovoronezh.
These include ‘Atomclass’, a state-of-the-art school facility for teaching physics and information technology. The NPP also provides assistance to the most gifted students in obtaining scholarships and references to Russia’s leading nuclear universities including the National Research Nuclear University MEPhI.
For its own employees, the Novovoronezh NPP provides generous social security benefits and healthcare services that include free regular checkups, vacations at health resorts and treatment at a unique professional rehab centre.
The Novovoronezh NPP also invests considerably in improving the town’s infrastructure, through such contributions as the construction of a new musical fountain in a central town square and renovating the local palace of culture.
The effects of this socially responsible policy have been impressive – according to the Russian State Committee for Sport statistics, the average life expectancy among Russian nuclear industry workers is notably higher than across other industries.
This is a result not only of Rosatom’s efforts in providing high-quality healthcare for its employees but also of their overall sense of social and financial stability and the safe and secure environment created by the NPP’s ecosystem in the region.
It is therefore hardly surprising that the Novovoronezh NPP is widely in the region regarded as contributing in a major way to the city and region’s social and economic stability, in a proof that innovations in nuclear power can and do have a positive, game-changing impact that goes way beyond energy.
A similar positive impact is also projected for Egypt and the Matrouh province in particular, which will be getting not only a latest-generation nuclear power plant but a powerful stimulus for social development and a better quality of life for the local population.
Former Chief IAEA expert Dr Yousry Abu Shady comments, ‘It is highly expected that this area will be highly developed for different industries, water desalination, renewable energy and others, which all will strongly help the economic development of the Matrouh Governorate area, including as a tourism and education centre.’
About Rosatom State Atomic Energy Corporation
Rosatom State Atomic Energy Corporation is the world leader in the production of safe and clean energy, and it adheres to the principle of social responsibility and the need for preserving natural resources.
Rosatom comprises 350 companies and research institutions in the nuclear industry. With over 70 years of experience in the nuclear sector, Rosatom offers integrated services in the nuclear industry, from uranium enrichment to building nuclear power plants internationally, while giving priority to improving product quality, introducing innovative technologies as well as environmental management. Rosatom is actively implementing projects in the field of applied research and innovation, and annually invests 4.5% of its income into research projects. Russian atomic technologies have been used in the construction of 120 research reactors around the world.
Source: Al Bawaba