CAIRO: According to local newspaper reports, a certain coterie of businessmen from the ruling National Democratic Party (NDP) are still attempting to agitate for the relocation of Egypt’s first nuclear power plant from its chosen location in Dabba.
Dabba is to be announced soon as the site for the nuclear plant because it satisfies all the conditions, but certain members of the policies committee in the NDP believe the site could become a tourist hotspot instead, Al-Masry Al-Youm reported Monday.
Sources from the Egyptian Atomic Energy Authority (EAEA) were quoted by the paper as saying that President Hosni Mubarak was leaning towards picking Dabba as the site, but that a group of businessmen who belong to the ruling NDP were trying to prevent it.
This is not the first time reports of this nature surface, and there has been an exchange of words in the media between scientists and businessmen over the suitability of the Dabba site.
Last year Prime Minister Ahmed Nazif was quoted as saying, “Why are they insisting on the Dabba site? We can invest in this site for touristic purposes, which kicked off a maelstrom over perceived designs to appropriate the site for business ventures.
Last August, former members of the EAEA came out with warnings regarding the designs of businessmen that they deemed to be against the national interest of Egypt.
One of these businessmen, Ibrahim Kamel, NDP policies committee member, 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.
Egypt intends to build its first nuclear reactor at Dabba, 160 km west of Alexandria. The site will host a 1,000-megawatt nuclear power station and there are plans to eventually build four reactors in total at the site.
Former deputy head of the Atomic Energy Authority Abdel-Fatah Hilal accused some businessmen of wanting to appropriate the site under the pretext of boosting tourism revenues.
Furthermore, former head of the agency Mohamed Abdel-Aziz said at the time, “Businessmen should stick to what they know and stay away from science.
Dabba is deemed an ideal locale for the plant because it is not susceptible to earthquakes and is near water, as well as having a small population in the immediate surrounding area.
However, there are environmental concerns regarding the building of a nuclear site, and Egyptian environmentalists have called for seeking renewable sources of energy before resorting to a nuclear power plant.