CAIRO: Egypt’s Electricity Minister said the country would go ahead with a tender for the construction of its first nuclear power plant despite recent political unrest, a government Facebook page reported on Wednesday.
The Arab world’s most populous country is aiming to shift away from oil and gas to other energy sources and has said it wants to build four nuclear plants by 2025, with the first to start operating in 2019.
"Electricity and Energy Minister Hassan Younes reaffirmed that current events have not had much effect on the nuclear program and that contacts with international companies have been underway over the past few days," the official page of the chairmanship of the Egyptian cabinet said.
"These companies have confirmed their willingness to participate in the tender as soon as it is put forward," it added.
Younes told Reuters in mid-January, shortly before the eruption of protests that ousted Hosni Mubarak, that the tender would be issued by the end of January.
The plant will be located at El-Dabaa, on the country’s Mediterranean coast.
Orascom Construction Industries, Egypt’s biggest listed builder, said in January it had formed a joint venture with state-owned Arab Contractors to bid on nuclear projects in the Middle East, including Egypt’s first nuclear power plant.