Jun. 17, 2016
Egypt’s Nuclear Project: An Expensive Solution to a Nonexistent Problem– Eric Trager (Washington Institute for Near East Policy)
- Egypt is finalizing a $25 billion loan from Russia to construct a civilian nuclear power facility near Dabaa on the Mediterranean coast. During the tumultuous years that followed Mubarak’s exit, Egypt suffered major electricity shortages.
- But after developing new gas, solar, and wind turbine energy sources, electricity production capacity rose from 27,000 megawatts in June 2013 to 32,000 in May 2015. Egypt’s production now exceeds demand.
- Egypt’s nuclear plan is very cost-ineffective compared to other energy deals Cairo has signed in recent years. For example, last year’s $9 billion deal with Siemens to build gas- and wind-powered plants will add 16,400 megawatts to Egypt’s grid – more than three times the output of the proposed nuclear plant for roughly a third of the cost.
- Moreover, the Italian firm Eni discovered the giant Zohr gas field along Egypt’s northern coast in August 2015, while BP’s local branch discovered another massive field earlier this month. Extracting these resources would be more cost effective than building the nuclear plant.