Al-Dabaa chosen by president to host Egypt’s first nuclear reactor, say sources

President Hosni Mubarak has chosen the site of Al-Dabaa on Egypt's northwest coast as the location for Egypt’s first nuclear power station, official sources told Al-Masry Al-Youm.

The same sources went on to say that the president had informed Energy Minister Hassan Younis that he had seen nuclear power stations in France built near residential areas, meaning they posed no danger to the public–an assertion, the sources added, that Younis agreed with.

The choice of Al-Dabaa has been criticized in the past by some businessmen on the basis that it could have an adverse impact on tourism in the area.

Former Nuclear Stations Authority Vice President Ali Abdel Nabi, for his part, warned of contracting construction of the planned nuclear power station via tender. “It should be by direct agreement between two countries, not through consulting firms,” he said.

“Consultants are businessmen at the end of the day,” Abdel Nabi added. “And we don’t have sufficient experience in the field to know if they're swindling us.”

“I call on President Mubarak to form a special ministry for this purpose and to draw on the expertise of Egyptian expatriates specialized in the nuclear field,” he said. “We should not choose a particular type of nuclear station so much as we should choose a country that will not abuse us if it is contracted to build it.”

“Negotiations with consulting firms, technical evaluations and tender procedures take too much time,” Abdel Nabi added.

In a related development, Younis on Sunday said the ministry had reduced daily national electricity consumption by between 350 and 400 megawatts–out of a total capacity of 23,000 megawatts–in order to save energy.

“This is quite a low saving rate that doesn't mean we have a problem with supply consistency,” Younis explained, adding that six new Egyptian power stations were expected to go online in December. 

According to a ministry official, the ministry would soon launch a campaign aimed at educating the public on how to save energy.

Translated from the Arabic Edition.

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