Science and Technology

Egypt and the Age of Nuclear Power
President Mubarak asserted to the NDP, Egypt’s intention to revive its Nuclear Programme
President Mubarak asserted to the National Democratic Party (NDP) Congress that Egypt intends to revive its nuclear programme. In his address to the closing session of the NDP Congress, held in September 2006, he confirmed Egypt's intention in this regard. It is no secret that Egypt had started its nuclear programme in the 1950s for some nuclear energy usages. The first serious and real attempt was in 1963 by establishing a nuclear unit and a sea water desalination unit in west of Alexandria. The second attempt was in 1974 when the US Presid ent Richard Nixon suggested giving Egypt and Israel nuclear reactors to generate electricity, within a unified programme that includes imposing international monitoring, yet Israel rendered the deal a failure and deprived Egypt from receiving the reactor. The third attempt was in 1981 with the aim of transferring 40 % of the energy production in Egypt to nuclear energy. On March 19, 1981, few weeks after Egypt had signed the Nuclear Weapon Ban Treaty, Douglas Anthony, the Australian deputy prime minister, announced that his country will provide Egypt with technical experiences in the field of nuclear energy. He also said that negotiations with Egypt will continue over providing her with uranium until the operation of the first nuclear reactor. On June 27, 1985, t h e A u s t r a l i a n parliament had endorsed the agreement on providing Egypt with uranium. The Australian official's remark coincided with signing an agreement with France on nuclear cooperation, including France's assistance to Egypt to build two 100 megawatt reactors with a cost of LE 1 billion. One of these reactors was built in Ad-Dab'a near the Mediterranean Sea coast and the other in Az-Za'afarana. The French experts had then examined all the proper sites to build the nuclear reactor until they found that Ad-Dab'a is, scientifically, the best place. Since March 31, 1983, Egypt had started building Ad -Dab'a reactor whose infrastructure had cost more than LE 30 million. It had also asked for the assistance of

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1985. The second reactor was established in the early 1990s in cooperation with Argentina. 51 . Experts from the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) paid several visits to the reactor to inspect it and make sure of its safety. Besides training and education purposes. the nuclear programme was suspended and the USA had suggested offering aid to Egypt to build two traditional power stations. It is also used in radiating s o me i n d u s t r i a l an d technological stones. Undoubtedly. But due to Chernobyl disaster in 1986. fears from the Chernobyl accident that halted the Egyptian nuclear programme. cadres capable of designing and contributing to the establishment. Some simple amendments had been introduced so that it can be operated safely at a maximum capacity of 22 megawatt. administration and maintenance were graduated. It enjoyed a vast Egyptian cooperation in manufacturing some parts. It was operated in 1960 with a capacity of 2 megawatt. it produces the silicon used in electronic industries. materials and requirements. Despite the fact that the Egyptian nuclear programme was then halted. operation. It works under the open heart system which provides a bigger chance to fill and empty fuels and implement all maintenance works easily. as a result of the great scientific and technological advancements in the design. 51 Egypt’s need to use Nuclear Power became inevitable due to the diminishing Petroleum and Gas Reserves and the increasing Consumption Rates Along the past 46 years. It is currently operating and owns enough fuel for a 15year operation. This reactor was upgraded 15 years ago so as to cope with the state-of-the -art nuclear technology. the age of the reactor. have become a talk about history. On August 11. We should only know that. A permanent license to operate the reactor with the maximum ability was offered in 2003 and since then. However. Furthermore. it is working in the aforementioned usages. operation and safety measures and guarantees provided for the nuclear reactors which completely prevents any radioactive leakage. the project failed because the Import and Export Bank refused to finance this project under the pretext that the Egyptian request did not include enough guarantees over paying back the debt. The first reactor was built in Russia. around 800 local and international scientific researches in the fields of reactors were published. this reactor is used in producing the isotopes.international bodies to start this project. since the 1990s. Moreover. yet Egypt had preserved some peaceful usages of the nuclear energy. as she possesses two reactors for nuclear research and producing isotopes for medical and industrial purposes and undergo all the scientific and training experiments and human resources development. major countries such as Japan. AlAhram newspaper published an article about Egypt's will to start the work in the first uranium mine with a cost of LE 1. Work in this reactor was implemented in 1997.8 million.

000 barrel/day. Switzerland and USA started to reconsider their fears from nuclear reactors. whether in the developed or the developing countries. thus. not to mention its soaring prices worldwide. in light of the fact that petroleum and gas reserves in the whole world are not capable of meeting the increasing world energy needs and the nuclear option has become inevitable. her need of electricity is annually going up by 8%. Thanks to the safety measures. salient of which are as follows: First: Despite Egypt's reserve of gas that reaches 66 trillion cubic foot. especially that a nuclear station could not be built in less than 10 years if the financial resources and support from the highest authority in the country are available. In 1983. Egypt could be prone to an energy problem. Energy statistics in Egypt show an increase in the use of petroleum and gas against a retreat in the use of nuclear energy. Egypt built ad-Dabá reactor whose infrastructure had cost more than LE 30 million 52 . the main reason behind global warming. This rate could not be maintained in light of the oil drop by around 80.Science and Technology z Germany. Furthermore. Egypt is always keen on her own environment and is in dire need of an increasing energy as her oil reserves are only enough for few years. They started to offer establishment licenses or grant 20. Many reasons behind Egypt's decision to revive its nuclear programme. she should not misuse such a reserve in few years as it is only sufficient for 30 years. there is an increasing trend towards building nuclear stations. As a result of the growing industrialization and urban development movement in Egypt. the world had actually succeeded in developing the new nuclear stations so as to avoid accidents as that of Chernobyl due to the various safety measures that prevent any radioactive leakage and guarantee an automatic halt to the stations if the workers lost control over it. the coal and thermal energy stations are expensive and have a limited production.y e a r s licenses for old reactors after being technically improved. Second: The latest nuclear stations proved much safer as they do not emanate carbon dioxide. During the last five years.

such as the various nuclear safety and radioactive monitor centers. had prepared a study over the possibility of producing thermal energy from nuclear energy. cheaper and environment friendly nuclear stations. could not be a strategic substitute to cover the increasing annual demand of 1000 megawatt. This means that during the coming three decades. The other thermal alternatives. any development project's cost is too much. and money could be saved through power generation from safer. Fourth: Nowadays. such as the solar or wind energy. for realizing nuclear safety. Such centers monitor all nuclear activities. Fifth: In 1987. 53 . equivalent to adding the production of a huge nuclear station each year. the nuclear energy is much cheaper. Moreover.Thus. covers the limited difference in the building costs. Egypt has to enter strongly in the water desalination field to produce much water for 53 Egypt possesses Two Reactors for conducting Nuclear Researches and producing the Isotopes for serving the Industrial and Medical Development drinking and irrigation using nuclear energy. Finally we can definitely say that Egypt has appropriate infrastructure. Egypt should build more than the eight stations mentioned in the Egyptian programme which was suspended due to Chernobyl accident. in comparison with a thermal one. This oil shale increases the importance of nuclear energy in Egypt as the American nuclear engineer Charles Forsberg from Oak Ridge National Laboratory. to generate thermal energy. yet the low cost of operating a nuclear station. while the building a thermal one of a similar capacity only costs $ 1200 million.7 billion barrels of the current oil reserves. and consequently. the industrial development is still low despite the jump that took place in the last two years. Although the building of a 1000 megawatt nuclear station can cost $ 1500 million. Second: Using the traditional energy in the separation process will lead to eco-harmful effects as polluting gasses emanate during the heating process.7 billion barrels oil shale that is added to around 3. Egypt had also discovered a 5. as the per capita consumption in Egypt is still poor in comparison with the developed countries. Moreover. in addition to the licenses of the construction sites and operation methods and maintenance to the old equipment. in addition to protecting the environment and atmo sphere from pollution that causes global warming. Third: Electricity consumption is witnessing an annual increase by around 8 % and it is not expected to reach the required rate in the coming two decades. Forsberg clarified that the importance of nuclear energy comes due to two main factors: First: There is a great loss in using the oil barrels to generate electricity.