Egypt aim for nuclear tender within 2011

First nuclear reactor to come online by 2019.

Egypt has nuclear power firmly in its sights.
Egypt has nuclear power firmly in its sights.

Egypt is looking to add nuclear power to its energy mix by tendering for a nuclear power plant by the end of the year, a government minister has revealed.

The country’s first reactor is to come online in 2019, and will be the one of three to be built by 2025, Hassan Younis, Egypt’s energy minister, told the state-owned MENA news agency.

Younis put the cost of the initial project at around US$1,5-1,8 billion.

Egypt revived its nuclear programme in 2007 on the back of increasing demand for power, after halting its nuclear drive in the wake of the Chernobyl disaster in the Soviet Union in the 1980s.

It has been overtaken by Abu Dhabi, which has been able to draw on its substantial oil revenues, and by Iran, which is close to bringing online its Bushehr reactor, on the road to nuclear energy.

Nevertheless, Egypt can make use of a pool of trained nuclear staff, benefitting from conducting decades of research and training in this field.

But analysts are not convinced that the ambitious plans are feasible, and interpret the announcement as a means to reassure energy consumers over supply.

“While its experience is a strong point for Egypt to fall back on when again embarking on a new development phase, the very ambitious six-year timeframe to bring the remaining three nuclear power plants online post-2019 does for now look primarily to be intended as a message of assurance over power supplies to Egypt's industry, rather than a realistic target,” wrote Sam Ciszuk, analyst at IHS Global Insight in a research note.



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