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Wednesday, March 19, 2008
Egypt, Russia draft deal for nuclear power tender
Egypt and Russia on Wednesday drafted a nuclear energy deal, which could be signed next week in Moscow, to allow Russia to take part in the tender to build nuclear reactors in Egypt, the Egyptian negotiator said.
"This agreement is for the usage of nuclear energy for peaceful means. We have concluded all the technical work of it. It is ready for signing," said Egypt's Industry and Energy minister Rachid Mohamed Rachid.
Rachid spoke by telephone from Cairo after talks with Russian Energy Minister Viktor Khristenko, who is on a two-day visit to Egypt laying the ground for Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak's visit to Moscow early next week.
"The agreement could be signed by President Mubarak at that time," Rachid said.
Through the construction of several nuclear power plants, Egypt is planning to revive its civilian atomic energy programme, shut down in 1986 in the wake of the Chernobyl disaster.
The London-based International Institute of Strategic Studies said the first 1,000-megawatt reactor could be built at Dabaa on the Mediterranean in eight to 10 years if foreign investment was secured.
Rachid said the tender for the turnkey construction projects would be concluded this year and would not be biased in favour of any of the potential partners, which also include China and Kazakhstan.
"Egypt has made it clear that this will be an open and competitive process. Our intention is to finalize it this year and to launch construction," he said by telephone from Cairo.Russia is one of the global leaders in nuclear energy know-how, and is active in constructing and providing fuel for nuclear power plants, including the controversial Bushehr plant in southwestern Iran.