Egypt, Jordan, Turkey, Mid-east Going Nuclear

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Egypt, Jordan, Turkey, Mid-east Going Nuclear

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mynameis
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Joined: Nov 4 2006, 03:04 PM

Oct 30 2007, 01:40 AM #1

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Egypt Announces It Will Be Going Nuclear

October 29th, 2007 Posted By The Bashman ~~ From Pat Dollards Blog

Nuke

CAIRO, Egypt - Egypt said Monday that it would build several nuclear power plants, moving into the front of a group of nations raising fears of Middle Eastern proliferation with new pushes to develop nuclear energy.

President Hosni Mubarak announced live on national television that Egypt was building the power stations to diversify Egypt’s energy resources and preserve the country’s oil and gas for future generations.

“Energy security is a major part of building the future for this country and an integral part of Egypt’s national security system,” Mubarak said at a ceremony inaugurating the second phase of construction of an electrical power plant north of Cairo.

Jordan, Turkey and several Gulf Arab countries also have announced that they are interested in developing nuclear power programs, and Yemen’s government in September signed an agreement with Houston-based Powered Corporation to build civilian nuclear plants over the next 10 years.

Despite the declarations of peaceful intentions, there are worries that the countries could be taking the first steps toward a dangerous proliferation of nuclear technology in response to Iran’s nuclear program, which the U.S. calls cover for weapons development.

Iran says it only wants energy for civilian purposes and has turned back international demands that it halt uranium enrichment, a process that can produce either electricity or fissile material for a nuclear warhead.

The U.S. State Department said Washington would not object to Egypt’s program as long as it respects the Nuclear Nonproliferation Treaty and the rules of the International Atomic Energy Agency.

“Countries that are members in good standing of the NPT and enter into agreements with IAEA regarding safeguards for peaceful nuclear energy, we have no problem with that,” spokesman Sean McCormack told reporters. “Those states who want to pursue peaceful nuclear energy abiding by their international commitments, that’s not a problem for us … Those are countries that we can work with.”

Mubarak said he would re-establish the Supreme Council for the Peaceful Purposes of Nuclear Power, which would be in charge of the nuclear program. He also said Egypt would seek the help of its “international partners” and the IAEA in building the plants.

Last year, Mubarak’s son, Gamal, called for Egypt to revive plans for a nuclear program that was publicly shelved in the aftermath of the 1986 accident at the Soviet nuclear plant in Chernobyl.

A committee was formed to study the program’s possibilities, and the U.S ambassador said Washington would be willing to help its Mideast ally develop a peaceful program.

At the time, Hassan Yunis, the minister of electricity and energy, said Egypt could have an operational nuclear power plant within 10 years.

Egypt has conducted nuclear experiments on a very small scale for the past four decades, but they have not included the key process of uranium enrichment, according to the IAEA.

Earlier this year, former U.N. chief weapons inspector Hans Blix said he supported Egypt’s ambitions but said it would be at least a decade before Cairo could launch a nuclear program and urged Egypt to sign additional protocols allowing for greater inspection oversight.

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