CAIRO: The International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) objects to an article in Egypt’s nuclear energy law exempting the Ministry of Health from being supervised by the country’s nuclear authority.
A specially formed committee from the Shoura Council convened Thursday to discuss the parameters of Egypt’s nuclear energy law and offer revisions.
Head of the industrial production committee in the Shoura Council, Mohamed Farid Khamis, pointed out that the IAEA had reservations about Article 2 of the law regarding the regulation of nuclear and radiation activities.
Article 2 exempts the Ministry of Health from being regulated by this law, which the IAEA said contravenes international standards, according to Khamis.
The IAEA recommended that the law be revised to bring the ministry under the supervision of the same body that would oversee other nuclear activities in Egypt.
A medical source told Daily News Egypt that radioactive isotopes and radiotherapy that employs the use of radiation rays are used in hospitals to treat certain types of cancer.
“This is a recent branch of medicine called nuclear medicine which is used for both diagnosis and treatment, the source added.
Khamis refused to be drawn on the subject of Dabba, the proposed site of Egypt’s first nuclear facility, which lies 160 km west of Alexandria. He stated that it was not part of the committee’s mandate to discuss it.
Last August, former members of the Egyptian Atomic Energy Authority had publicly warned that some businessmen had designs on the site in response to comments made by businessman Ibrahim Kamel, who had warned of the dangers of building a nuclear plant in the north of Egypt and the dangers it could pose to Cairo and other governorates.
Prime Minister Ahmed Nazif had also said in the past, “Why are they insisting on the Dabaa site? We can invest in this site for touristic purposes.
Dabba is expected to host a 1,000-megawatt nuclear power station, with a potential three additional reactors. Nuclear experts previously told Daily News Egypt that Dabba was the most suitable site for a nuclear facility, due to its proximity to water and its stable environment.
However there are environmental concerns regarding the building of a nuclear site that is so close to residential populations. Egyptian environmentalists have called for seeking renewable sources of energy first before looking to nuclear power.