Egypt's nuclear plant 'online in 10 years'

Wednesday, November 7, 2007

CAIRO, Nov. 5 (UPI) -- Egypt’s first nuclear power plant will be online within 10 years, the convention of the country’s ruling National Democratic Party was told at the weekend.

"The first station should be working in 2017-2018," said Gamal Mubarak, son of President Hosni Mubarak and head of the party’s powerful Policy Secretariat.

Mubarak said Sunday in a speech to the party’s ninth convention that the nuclear program would ensure Egypt’s energy independence by 2022.

The party will "start work on implementing Egypt's nuclear program, which includes the building of four nuclear power stations by 2022, with energy output equal to 7 million tons of petrol," he said.

President Mubarak announced last week that Egypt would re-launch its nuclear power program -- making it the latest of 11 Arab nations to unveil plans for nuclear energy in the past year, according to Bloomberg News. The others are Algeria, Bahrain, Jordan, Libya, Kuwait, Oman, Qatar, Saudi Arabia, Yemen and the United Arab Emirates.

Minister of Electricity Hassan Younis said the following day that Egypt will most likely buy nuclear fuel rather than produce its own.

Egypt originally launched a nuclear energy program in the 1950s, during the heyday of President Gamal Nasser's developmental ambitions, but it was abruptly shelved in the wake of the Chernobyl disaster.

EU External Relations Commissioner Benita Ferrero-Waldner told an energy conference here last week that the EU was willing to aid Egypt in ensuring the safety of any nuclear plants it builds.

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Shaun Waterman, UPI Homeland and National Security Editor

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