Last Updated: October 1, 2009
Other Name: ET-RR-1
Location: Nuclear Research Center (NRC), Inshas (NE Cairo suburb)
Subordinate To: Atomic Energy Authority (AEA), National Center for Nuclear Safety and Radiation Control (NCNSRC)
Size: 2MW research reactor
Facility Status: Operational

The ETRR-1 is a 2MW Soviet-supplied tank-type VVR reactor. [1] The reactor's uses include solid-state research, nuclear and reactor physics, chemical research, isotope production, and biological irradiation. [2] The facility is under IAEA safeguards, [3] and its spent fuel is of low proliferation risk since it contains only miniscule quantities of plutonium. [4]

Construction on the ETRR-1 began in March 1958 and the reactor went critical in February 1961. The reactor is light water cooled and moderated with a light water reflector. The Soviet Union provided the initial fuel load of 3.2 kg 10% enriched uranium, and the reactor has never been refueled. [5] It operates only 20 weeks per year, and has a small staff of 18 (including seven operators). The aluminum-clad fuel elements contain 16 rods and there are nine control rods. There is one core irradiation facility, nine horizontal channels used for research, and eight vertical channels used for isotope production. The reactor's small capacity limits its utility to research purposes. [6]

In the early 1980s, Egypt requested IAEA assistance to modernize the reactor. From 1987 to 1989, Egypt and the IAEA installed a new radiation monitoring and measuring system to improve safety, and in 1989 an IAEA expert assisted in the design and manufacture of a neutron radiography system. [7] In 1992, the IAEA coordinated an in-service inspection of the ETRR-1 reactor, resulting in the modernization of instrumentation and safety systems, fission chamber assemblies, and other equipment. Since the AEA commissioned the ETRR-2, Egypt has less frequently utilized the ETRR-1. [8]

Sources:
[1] James M. Acton and Wyn Q. Bowen, "Atoms for Peace in the Middle East: The Technical and Regulatory Requirements," NPEC Working Paper Series, 2008, p. 13.
[2] Nuclear Programmes in the Middle East: In the shadow of Iran, Mark Fitzpatrick ed., (London: The International Institute for Strategic Studies, 2008), p. 25.
[3] "Implementation of the NPT Safeguards Agreement in the Arab Republic of Egypt: Report by the Director General," IAEA, 14 February 2005, p. 2, www.carnegieendowment.org.
[4] Nuclear Programmes in the Middle East: In the shadow of Iran, Mark Fitzpatrick ed., (London: The International Institute for Strategic Studies, 2008), p. 18.
[5] Judith Perera, "Nuclear Industry of Egypt," March 2003, pp. 16-17, www.opensource.gov; Yana Feldman, Mary Beth Nikitin, and Jack Boureston, "Egyptian nuclear non-disclosures cause concern," Jane's Intelligence Review, 1 April 2005, www.janes.com.
[6] Judith Perera, "Nuclear Industry of Egypt," March 2003, pp. 16-17, www.opensource.gov.
[7] Barbary M. Gregory, "Egypt's Nuclear Program: Assessing Supplier Based and Other Developmental Constraints," The Nonproliferation Review, Fall 1995, p. 22.
[8] Nuclear Programmes in the Middle East: In the Shadow of Iran, Mark Fitzpatrick ed., (London: The International Institute for Strategic Studies, 2008), p. 26.

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