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President Putin takes part in the official ceremony for pouring the first concrete into the foundation of power unit #4 at Egypt's El-Dabaa Nuclear Power Plant via videoconference with President of Egypt Abdel Fattah el-Sisi at the Kremlin on Jan. 23, 2024.

(Gavriil Grigorov, Sputnik, Kremlin Pool Photo via AP)

Magazine Article - MEES

Egypt’s Nuclear Megaproject Faces Uncertainty As Russian Funding Squeezed

  • Nada Ramadan Ahmed
| Jan. 19, 2024

In an interview with Nada Ramadan Ahmed, North Africa Analyst with MEES magazine, she quotes Marina Lorenzini on the topic of the El Dabaa Nuclear Power Plant in Egypt: "Putin has used the Russian nuclear energy industry, through Rosatom, as a strategic export to build deep dependencies with geopolitically significant countries, such as Bangladesh, Egypt, and Turkey. So, even as times get tough in Moscow, Rosatom's foreign projects may not receive an immediate axe."

Other companies cannot necessarily replace Rosatom if needed, leaving Cairo "in a bind to negotiate with Moscow on a point-by-point basis on how to purchase and integrate new equipment. Moscow will likely not welcome such a move, and Cairo may not have a strong enough bargaining position, especially if it's not paying its bills on time, in order to introduce non-Russian supplies on site."

Russian President Vladimir Putin, right, and Egypt's President Abdel Fattah el-Sisi walk during their meeting in the Black Sea resort of Sochi, Russia, Wednesday, Oct. 23, 2019.

(Sergei Fadeyechev, TASS News Agency Pool Photo via AP)

Analysis & Opinions - Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists

Why Egypt’s New Nuclear Plant is a Long-term Win for Russia

| Dec. 20, 2023

With 22 countries pledging to triple global nuclear energy production by 2050 at the COP28 climate meeting in Dubai, sincere prospects for growth in global nuclear energy market is on the table. Nonetheless, these 22 countries largely represent ones that have minimal ties with Russia’s nuclear exports or are seeking to decouple themselves from a current dependency. 

Many other countries are considering the option of nuclear energy, and several will turn to Russia’s state-owned nuclear energy company, Rosatom, to build their new reactors. Since assuming power, Russian President Vladimir Putin has developed Russia’s nuclear industry exports as a key piece of its energy and geopolitical portfolio. 

One country in particular has embraced a partnership with Rosatom: Egypt. In 2015, Russia and Egypt concluded an intergovernmental agreement that led Rosatom to build a $30-billion nuclear power plant near the Mediterranean coastal town of El Dabaa, about 170 kilometers west of Alexandria. With four Russian-designed, 1.2-gigawatt, VVER reactor units, the El Dabaa nuclear power plant is expected to generate more than 10 percent of total electricity production in Egypt and provide a consistent baseload power source for 20 million people.

The Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant in Fukushima, northern Japan, on Thursday, Aug. 24, 2023.


Newspaper Article - NBC News

China bans seafood from Japan after Fukushima nuclear plant begins releasing wastewater

| Aug. 24, 2023

“This is not a decision or set of steps that are happening in haste by any means, and this is a practice that is common and consistent around the world and with the nuclear energy industry,” said Marina Lorenzini of the Belfer Center for Science and International Affairs at the Harvard Kennedy School of Government.

According to data posted online by the Japanese Ministry of Economy, Trade and Industry, water with much higher levels of tritium has been discharged by nuclear facilities in countries including China, South Korea, Canada and France in line with local regulations.

Lorenzini said that the IAEA’s active engagement in the Fukushima process “makes me feel a lot more comfortable and confident with the events we see playing out today.”

The IAEA said this week that it would maintain an onsite presence at the Fukushima plant, where it opened an office last month, and publish real-time and near real-time monitoring data.

“I think we have good reason to believe that this will be a well-monitored and well-maintained operation,” Lorenzini said.

Ukraine's President Volodomyr Zelensky and Japan’s Prime Minister Fumio Kishida paid tribute to the victims of the atomic bombings at the Hiroshima Peace Memorial Park on May 21, 2023. Zelensky attended several sessions on the last day of the G7 Summit in Hiroshima City, Japan.

Photo courtesy of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Japan

Analysis & Opinions - Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists

In Hiroshima, the G7 Economies Leverage Global Security Gains

| May 22, 2023

This year’s heads of state meeting for the Group of Seven (G7) summit in Hiroshima, Japan demonstrated the agility of this body. The G7 leaders represent the powerhouse industrial democracies who are pulling their resources to maintain global economic stability and prosperity—and, this time, global security. In the course of 72 hours, Japan’s Prime Minister Fumio Kishida and the invited delegations took significant steps on some of the most pressing issues facing the world—from delivering F-16 aircraft to Ukraine to bolstering relations between Seoul and Tokyo and countering China’s economic coercion.

Rosatom CEO Alexei Likhachyov and Turkey's Minister of Energy and Natural Resources Fatih Dönmez at the ceremony of the first delivery of Russian-made nuclear fuel to to Unit 1 of the Akkuyu nuclear power plant on April 27, 2023.

Photo credit: Iliya Pitalev, Rossiya Segodnya via kremlin.ru

Analysis & Opinions - Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists

Cutting power: How creative measures can end the EU’s dependence on Russian nuclear fuel

| May 03, 2023

Rosatom has had a terrible record in Ukraine, including the annexation and illegal occupation of the Zaporizhzhia nuclear power plant in southeastern Ukraine. The United Kingdom and the United States have applied some sanctions on Rosatom-connected entities, targeting members of company leadership, the sham Zaporizhzhia joint-stock company, and some Russian nuclear research centers. But several European countries are dependent—some entirely—on Rosatom’s products to support their nuclear power plants and energy security profiles. Some European utilities have demonstrated great urgency to develop alternative suppliers to Rosatom, the Russian global company that has largely maintained its dealings in nuclear fuel and construction of new reactors across the European market.


Managing the Atom at NPT RevCon 2022

The Project on Managing the Atom participated as a NGO delegation in the Tenth Review Conference of the Parties to the Treaty on the Non-Proliferation of Nuclear Weapons (NPT) at the United Nations in New York. This review conference comes at a time when nuclear fears amid the conflict in Ukraine loom large.

Akkuyu Nuclear Power Plant Groundbreaking Ceremony

Press Service of the President of the Russian Federation via Wikimedia Commons

Analysis & Opinions - Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists

Five reasons that Russia’s nuclear exports will continue, despite sanctions and the Ukraine invasion. But for how long?

| May 17, 2022

By many measures, Russia’s state-controlled nuclear energy company, Rosatom, has primacy in the global nuclear energy market. At any given moment, the firm provides technical expertise, enriched fuel, and equipment to nuclear reactors around the world. The Russian invasion of Ukraine and, more acutely, the Russian military’s dangerous actions at the Zaporizhzhia nuclear power plant and in the Chernobyl exclusion zone have many countries rethinking their dependence on Russian nuclear products and searching for alternatives. Additionally, the ensuing global effort to cripple Russian access to international markets calls into question the viability of current contracts, government licensing, and financial instruments involved in Russia’s nuclear exports.

Ilham Aliyev received OSCE Minsк Group co-chairs, February 2019

The Presidential Press and Information Office's of Azerbaijan


OSCE Minsk Group: Lessons from the Past and Tasks for the Future

| Fall 2020

The international community, acting through the OSCE Minsk Group, has been unable to induce the leaders of Armenia and Azerbaijan to resolve the Karabakh conflict, which began in 1988 and burst into a new round of fighting in September 2020. Leaders and populations on both sides had become increasingly maximalist; any leader willing to compromise could be branded a traitor. The 2020 fighting drastically changed facts on the ground. With Turkey’s assistance, Azerbaijan recovered much of the land it lost a generation previously. But Azerbaijan was compelled to permit Russia to deploy a large peacekeeping force, something it had resisted for 25 years. While its authority is diminished, the Minsk Group can play a role going forward in restoring confidence and communication between the sides, opening borders, and ultimately leading negotiations on the future status of the region.

Secretary of State Mike Pompeo and Secretary of the Treasury Steven Mnuchin speak to reporters Tuesday, Sept. 10, 2019, in the James S. Brady Press Briefing Room of the White House.

Official White House Photo by Andrea Hanks

Analysis & Opinions - Lawfare

Challenges to U.S. Sanctions Against Iran During the Coronavirus Pandemic

| Apr. 30, 2020

The coronavirus has hit Iran hard. As the country grapples with the highest mortality rate from COVID-19 across the Middle East, the Trump administration has faced widespread calls to ease U.S. sanctions on Iran. The strict bilateral sanctions, which the Trump administration has reimposed since the U.S. withdrawal from the Iran nuclear deal in May 2018, have left the Iranian economy in a deepening recession, with foreign companies and governments remaining hesitant to engage in financial and trade exchanges with Iran. Though the Department of the Treasury purports to allow exceptions to sanctions restrictions for humanitarian aid, medical equipment and pharmaceuticals, the pandemic has highlighted the cracks in this system.