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Mon 4 Feb 2008 04:00 AM

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Egypt revisits nuclear option

Government has drawn up a co-operation framework with the IAEA that will last until 2030.

The Egyptian government is pressing ahead with plans to revive its nuclear energy programme.

The Egypt State Information Service quoted the country's minister for electricity and power as saying that further studies were being conducted for a potential nuclear facility to be built in El-Dabaa, some 100 km west of Alexandria, on the country's Mediterranean coast.

El-Dabaa was originally chosen as the site for Egypt's first nuclear power station back in 1980. But the government later abandoned its nuclear programme, following the disaster at the Chernobyl power plant in Ukraine in 1986.

Egypt hopes to build a 1 000 MW nuclear power plant at an estimated cost of US $1.5 billion, according to local media reports from 2006.

Speaking during a recent tour of projects in Aswan, the minister, Hassan Younes, also said that the authority was assessing uranium reserves in nine locations across the country to determine the economic feasibility of setting up nuclear programme. The study is being carried out in conjunction with the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA).

Younes commented that his ministry had worked out a draft nuclear bill, outlining future cooperation with the IAEA. "The bill, which will be presented to the government for approval in March, sets a legal framework for co-operation with the IAEA until 2030," he said. "The Egyptian programme is transparent and certified by the international community and the IAEA."

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