PM: Egypt to follow through with plans for nuclear power plant

Prime Minister Kamal al-Ganzouri on Tuesday informed ministers that the government will follow through with its plans to build Egypt’s first nuclear power plant, said Minister of Planning and International Cooperation Fayza Abouelnaga.

The plant's construction site, located in Dabaa in Matrouh Governorate, was looted and vandalized earlier this week, resulting in LE500 million in losses.

An official, who spoke to Al-Masry Al-Youm on condition of anonymity, accused a businessman and former member in the defunct National Democratic Party of being "behind the chaos," but did not name the businessman allegedly involved. However, other reports suggest that the construction site was attacked by residents in the area, who were angry at the way in which the land designated for the plant had been acquired by the government.

The meteorological station, ground water station and many of the offices had been attacked by "organized looters," who took objects including computers, monitoring devices for earthquakes, furniture, cables and transformers. The official added that people attempted to bring building materials onto the site in preparation for private construction.

Abouelnaga added that Ganzouri said the infringement on the site is illegal and will remain so even if the infringing party manages to erect a building.

She said that all state agencies were coordinating in order to protect the site while ensuring no harm comes to the "Bedouins who were approved for compensation."

Abouelnaga went on to say that the issue would be dealt with firmly to ensure that the violations do not set a precedent. She noted that all state security agencies were involved in the investigation and that the guilty parties would be brought to justice. She added that investigations into claims that a businessman had incited the residents to attack the site are ongoing.

Residents of Dabaa staged a sit-in on Saturday after clashes with Egyptian military police on Friday. The clashes left 41 people injured, including 29 soldiers, according to state-run newspaper Al-Ahram.

On Friday, about 500 residents rallied, demanding that construction on the plant be halted. They say their land had been confiscated for the project, and that they did not receive compensation.

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