Egyptian nuclear delegation heads to Moscow

Ahram Online , Saturday 14 Feb 2015

Russia last week signed an agreement to construct a nuclear power plant in Egypt

Egypt's President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi (R) speaks with Russia's President Vladimir Putin (L) as they attend a show at Cairo's opera house during Putin's visit, February 9 (Photo: Reuters)

A delegation of Egyptian nuclear power experts and officials headed to Moscow on Saturday to meet with Russian officials for talks on an Egyptian nuclear power-generation programme to be implemented in partnership with Russia.

In his visit to Egypt last week, Russian President Vladimir Putin and Egypt's President Abdel Fattah El-Sisi signed an agreement for Russia to construct a nuclear power plant to generate electricity in Egypt.

Putin said that "if final decisions are reached" regarding the power plant, construction would start straight away. 

The visit will last for a week, according to the Ahram Arabic news website, and talks are to cover the financial and technical aspects of constructing a power plant in Egypt's Dabaa, close to the Mediterranean city of Marsa Matrouh, west of Alexandria.

Plans to build a nuclear power plant in Dabaa first emerged during the Mubarak era, but never took off. In 2013, Egypt's interim president Adly Mansour announced that the project would be re-launched.

The delegation in Russia this week includes the head of Egypt’s Nuclear Power Plants Authority, Khalil Yaso, the head of the Egypt’s Atomic Energy Authority, Atef El-Kadim, and the deputy president of Egypt's Nuclear and Radiological Regulatory Authority, Walid Zeidan, in addition to officials from the ministry of electricity.

The delegation will visit nuclear energy training centres and nuclear power plants in Moscow.

Cairo has sought to strengthen its ties with Moscow, against the backdrop of strained ties with its long-time ally Washington, since the ouster of Islamist president Mohamed Morsi in July 2013.

The US is not opposed to the Egyptian-Russian deal, US state department spokesperson Jen Psaki said on Tuesday, and has no concerns about it -- "as long as obligations under the Nuclear Non-proliferation Treaty to which Egypt is a signatory and obligations to the [International Atomic Energy Agency] are fully met.”

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