The House of Representatives Legislative Committee ratified Sunday an array of agreements in different fields, state-run news agency MENA reported.
Among the agreements was one between Egypt and Saudi Arabia on the beneficial uses of nuclear energy, signed by both countries in early April.
The agreement, which was signed during King Salman bin Abdulaziz Al-Saud’s visit to Cairo, aims to increase cooperation between both countries in nuclear energy use, as well as the research, treatment, maintenance, and operation of nuclear reactors, ensuring environmental safety. This agreement is expected to extend for 10 years.
Nuclear energy is part of Egypt’s future mix of energy sources, according to Minister of Environment Khaled Fahmy. He said the new mix includes 5% nuclear energy, 15% coal, and 33% renewable energy in addition to alternative fuels.
This decision to expand nuclear energy use in Egypt has alarmed several environmentalists.
In a joint study published by the Egyptian Centre for Economic and Social Rights (ECESR) and the Heinrich Böll Foundation in late March, it was found that nuclear energy is not a viable part of a future energy mix for Egypt.
“It is the most expensive pathway available, costing $23.7bn, and potentially posing extreme risks to human lives and the environment in Egypt,” the study stated. Those costs are attributed to the lack of uranium in Egypt and connecting power plants to the national grid.
According to the study, nuclear power plants are highly regulated, state-driven entities that must be monitored and maintained meticulously. Furthermore, nuclear power plants take an average of seven years to be constructed, leaving the possibility that nuclear power would not contribute to the new mix of energy sources until 2022 or possibly later. It would thus be used as merely a mid-term solution for the energy mix.