CAIRO: The proposed bill for Egypt to kick-start its nuclear program is complete and will be referred to the People’s Assembly (PA) soon, according to Energy and Electricity Minister Hassan Younis.
Speaking to the Energy and Industrial Output Committee of the Shoura Council Sunday, Younis said the bill had been drafted and revised by the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) and would be referred to the PA after approval from the council of ministers.
The bill is expected to be on the agenda of the next cabinet meeting. It will pave the way for Egypt’s first nuclear plant to generate electricity.
The minister told the committee that the bill includes the creation of a body to act as a watchdog for nuclear safety issues, with a mandate to maintain the safety standards necessary. The body would be independent of the ministry as well as the Egyptian Atomic Energy Authority.
“The Atomic Energy Authority cannot be the operator and the overseer, he said.
Younis announced early last year that Egypt would build its first nuclear reactor at Dabba, 160 km west of Alexandria. According to Younis, the site will host a 1,000 megawatt nuclear power station.
“Choosing the location for the plant entails taking into account many technical considerations in the first degree, and many studies have been conducted to determine the most appropriate location, he told the committee.
Egypt had initiated a nuclear program in the 1970s but disbanded it after the Chernobyl disaster in 1986.
Reports had emerged last month of the discovery of traces of uranium by the IAEA in Inshaas on the Nile delta, though it was not determined whether it was enriched to weapons grade.
However, a diplomat close to the IAEA told Daily News Egypt at the time that this was not an unusual occurrence.
“It is not that unusual for the agency to find traces of nuclear material in environmental samples at nuclear sites in a country. As needed, these are followed up by the Department of Safeguards, said the diplomat.