Nuclear energy in Egypt

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President Adly Mansour announced on 7 November 2013 that Egypt was restarting its nuclear power program in El Dabaa; a deal was reached with the residents in which it was agreed that a residential area will also be built.[1] The Egyptian minister of electricity, Ahmed Emam, has called the project "necessary" because of a small amount of renewable energy sources and not enough fuel.[2]


The Egyptian nuclear power program was started in 1954 as the first research reactor ETRR-1 was acquired from the Soviet Union in 1958 and was opened by Gamal Abdel Nasser at Inchass, Nile Delta.[3] The disposal of its spent fuel was controlled by the Soviets.

In 1964, a 150 MWe nuclear power station was proposed, followed by a 600 MWe proposal in 1974. Also, the Nuclear Power Plants Authority (NPPA) was established in 1976, and in 1983 the El Dabaa site on the Mediterranean coast was selected.[4] The nuclear program was then rejected just after Egypt's defeat by Israel in the Six-day War in 1967 and the weakening of the Egyptian economy.

In 1968 Egypt signed the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty but postponed ratifying it citing evidence that Israel had undertaken a nuclear weapons program. Consequently, Egypt lost many of its nuclear experts and scientists who had to travel abroad to seek work opportunities. Some of them joined the Iraqi nuclear program and others emigrated to Canada and Egypt's nuclear plans were frozen after the Chernobyl accident.[3]

In 1992 Egypt acquired a 22MW multi-purpose research reactor ETRR-2 from Argentina.[5]

In 2006, Egypt announced it would revive its civilian nuclear power programme, and within 10 years build a 1,000 megawatt nuclear power station at El Dabaa. It was estimated to cost US$1.5bn, and it would be constructed with the participation of foreign investors.[6] In March 2008, Egypt signed with Russia an agreement on the peaceful uses of nuclear energy.[7]

As of 2012, after years of stop-start efforts, Egypt’s nuclear energy ambitions were once again in flux. El Dabaa had been targeted by protesters who were claiming that their land was wrongly taken by the government to make way for the nuclear plant. As of 2012, as a result of those protests, the site was shut down. The Morsi government did not make any statements about its plans for the plant since construction was suspended.[8]

Egypt withdrew from Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT) talks in Geneva on 29 April 2013.[9]


  1. ^ "Mansour revives plan for nuclear power plant on Egyptian coast". Ahram Online. 7 November 2013. Retrieved 9 December 2013. 
  2. ^ "Egypt's nuclear project inevitable: electricity minister". Egypt Independent. 9 November 2013. Retrieved 9 December 2013. 
  3. ^ a b "Nuclear Weapons Program". Federation of American Scientists. 30 May 2012. Retrieved 9 December 2013. 
  4. ^ "Emerging Nuclear Energy Countries". World Nuclear Association. November 2013. Retrieved 9 December 2013. 
  5. ^ "ETRR-2". NTI Building a Safe World. James Martin Center for Nonproliferation Studies. Retrieved 31 August 2014. 
  6. ^ "Egypt unveils nuclear power plan". BBC. 25 September 2006. Retrieved 9 December 2013. 
  7. ^ "Middle Eastern nations do nuclear diplomacy". World Nuclear News. 25 March 2008. Retrieved 9 December 2013. 
  8. ^ Sharon Weinberger (20 January 2012). "Radioactive material stolen in Egypt". Nature. Retrieved 9 December 2013. 
  9. ^ "Egypt pulls out of talks to protest Middle East nuclear arms". Reuters. 29 April 2013. Retrieved 9 December 2013. 

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