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North Africa: Egypt considers nuclear power

Egypt to go ahead with nuclear power plans, which is estimated to take 12-years until it is operational

On Sunday, an Egyptian delegation paid a visit to Moscow to discuss Egypt’s plans of developing a nuclear power plant. This follows the signing of two agreements last month between the two countries for financing.

In November, the Egyptian electricity and renewable energy minister, Mohamed Shaker el-Markabi and the head of Russia’s Rosatom State Atomic Energy Corporation, Sergey Kiriyenko, signed two agreements for the funding and development of Egypt’s first nuclear power plant (NPP).

The Egyptian President, Abdel Fattah el-Sisi said at the signing: “For a long time, Egypt has dreamt of having a peaceful nuclear programme for the production of electricity.”

Nuclear power: Chance of implementation

According to The Cairo Post, the nuclear power plant is expected to be commissioned in 12 years.

Shaul Shay, director of research at the Institute for Policy and Strategy at IDC Herzliya, told The Jerusalem Post that:  “Israel always warned that the agreement with Iran would lead to a ‘nuclear Middle East’ and this is the first evidence that it is going to happen. And don’t think Egypt will be the last.”

In an earlier article, Shay argued that the Egyptian nuclear power programme could “potentially be diverted for weapons purposes.”

Egypt tables nuclear

In February, Egypt’s federal government announced that they had entered into an agreement with Russia to develop the country’s first nuclear power plant, which has an estimated cost of $20 million (ZAR252 million).

The selected site for the nuclear power plant is in the North-West of the country and will comprise of four 1,2000MW nuclear reactors.

In other nuclear news, Yukiya Amano, director general of the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) said during a conference in October: “Lack of social acceptance and understanding remains one of the most difficult things in getting Africa to take up nuclear technology, yet it is not as complicated as people see it.”

He added: “Access to nuclear technology should not be limited to rich countries only and the IAEA is here as a reliable partner to help with expertise in all aspects of nuclear technology”.

The IAEA is willing to support African countries who are interested in procuring safe and secure nuclear energy to meet development needs.

Ashley Theron
Ashley Theron-Ord is based in Cape Town, South Africa at Clarion Events-Africa. She is the Senior Content Producer across media brands including ESI Africa, Smart Energy International, Power Engineering International and Mining Review Africa.