Egypt’s President ‘Abd al Fattah al-Sisi has issued a decree approving a $25bn loan from Russia to fund the construction of four 1.2GW nuclear reactors by Russian state firm Rosatom at Dabaa, 170km west of Alexandria on Egypt’s Mediterranean coast.

Egypt signed the agreement to develop the plants with Rosatom last November in a flurry of optimism, with Rosatom director-general Sergey Kirienko describing it as the biggest Egyptian/Russian joint project “since the...