Egypt denies nuclear program has ‘military dimension’

Egyptian Minister of Electricity and Energy Hassan Younis denied Israeli claims that Egypt's nascent nuclear program had a "military dimension."

"This accusation has no merit. We're talking about a nuclear reactor program for the purpose of electricity generation," he told Al-Masry Al-Youm on Thursday. "The use of nuclear energy for peaceful purposes is permitted by all international agreements with the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA)."

Last week, an Israeli television channel suggested that Egypt’s nuclear program might develop into a military one.

"We are working with the IAEA with complete transparency;  they are with us for every step of the process," the minister said. "The reactor is open to inspectors."

"Egypt has been a leader in staunching nuclear proliferation in the Middle East," added Younis.

When asked about recent speculation that a Russian company would be funding the program, Younis said: "There will be an initial public offering (IPO) in a few months, and the company with the best technical and financial offer will win the bid." He also stressed that Egypt has a long-terms nuclear energy supply plan in place."

"Since we are talking about a nuclear reactor for the purpose of electricity generation, there will definitely be energy supplies," he said. "Countries with other intentions may be liable to international suspicions, which could lead to interruption of their energy supplies. But Egypt's intention to use its reactor for the generation of electricity–which it has an urgent future need for–is more than apparent."

When asked about Egypt's uranium reserves, Younis pointed out that "Egypt's Nuclear Materials Authority has called for uranium exploration, but we cannot yet confirm the presence of uranium deposits."

"We will rely on international experts in the field to explore our national reserves of uranium," he concluded. "And we're setting a time frame for the mining and utilization of uranium in the nuclear reactor program."

Translated from the Arabic Edition.

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