Engineers relocate nuclear facility equipment after heists

Egyptian Atomic Energy Authority engineers have begun to dismantle equipment and machinery from a nuclear power plant construction site in the north coast city of Dabaa, preparing to move them to a safer location after the station was looted this week.

Al-Masry Al-Youm reported that engineers from Cairo arrived at the area to check the damaged facilities. Dabaa residents guarded them. The engineers then dismantled some of the equipment that had survived the thefts.

A number of Dabaa citizens had brought some of the equipment and pieces of furniture to a nearby mosque.

On Sunday, unknown attackers stole electric cables and lampposts from the station, then detonated dynamite to intimidate citizens camped near the site.

The sources quoted by Al-Masry Al-Youm said one Salafi preacher rejected an initiative from Nour Party members to allay tensions between the army and residents who objected to the installation of the facility. They connected the preacher to a member of the now-dissolved National Democratic Party whose investments in the area have been damaged by the project.

The sources said the preacher had spearheaded the protests against the project over its alleged environmental impact, and urged them during Friday's prayer sermon to "restore their extorted lands." They said his call prompted some residents to storm the facility on the same day and clash with army forces.

Last August, former President Hosni Mubarak ended a longtime nuclear debate by selecting Dabaa as the location for Egypt's first nuclear power plant.

"The state has to decide whether it will proceed with the nuclear project or give it up," former Nuclear Power Plants Authority head Yassin Ibrahim said, calling the crisis a "state problem."

Ibrahim said a brain drain has been causing Egypt's nuclear program to erode.

"The Dabaa project is indispensable. Petroleum is rapidly decreasing on the global level, and Egypt is poor in energy resources," he said.

Translated from Al-Masry Al-Youm

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