Egypt state regains control over Dabaa nuclear plant construction site

Ahram Online , Monday 30 Sep 2013

After months of occupying controversial nuclear site, Dabaa locals finalise agreement with Egyptian armed forces to hand over land


Local residents from Dabaa, Marsa Matrouh relinquished on Monday the Dabaa nuclear plant construction site to the Egyptian armed forces after months of occupying the controversial zone.

Dabaa's local tribes handed over the site during a celebratory event following reconciliation efforts with military intelligence and the Egyptian government.

Egypt's first power-generating nuclear plant is to be built on the long-disputed site, located on the Mediterranean coast.

In January, 2012, Dabaa locals stormed the construction site, destroying existing infrastructure and refusing to surrender to military police.  Low radioactive sources were also looted from the location, according to the International Atomic Energy Agency.    

The locals have since reached an agreement with military intelligence to hand over the land.  In return, military intelligence has agreed to mediate between local residents and the state and to form a technical committee to study to project's impact, according to news reports.

The agreement will also reopen the issue of compensation for the land confiscated by the state in order to build the plant, and will reconsider the charges against those locals who stormed and occupied the site.

On Saturday, electricity and energy minister Ahmed Emam said that the Nuclear Plants Authority may be transferred to Dabaa from the ministry's headquarters in Cairo in order to directly supervise the construction's progress.

It will cost an estimated $4billion to build the nuclear plant, whose planned energy capacity is 1000 MW.

In 1981, the state declared large parts of the Dabaa region government property in order to build the nuclear plant. Local residents have accused the state of confiscating their land by force and without proper compensation. 

According to nuclear scientists, Dabaa is the ideal location for the project given technical and ecological concerns.

However, the state's choice of Dabaa as the location for the country's first nuclear plant has faced opposition with many Egyptians questioning the long-term impact on the environment and coastal tourism development.

Short link: