UPDATE: Egypt's al-Ahram newspaper reported today that a small amount of nuclear material was stolen during looting at the construction site of the proposed Daaba nuclear plant. One safe containing radioactive material is missing, as is radioactive material from another safe that was opened. Reuters quoted an International Atomic Energy Agency source describing the stolen items as low-level nuclear material from a lab at the site.
Egypt remains poised to build its first nuclear power plant, originally approved under the leadership of ousted strongman Hosni Mubarak. But local opposition remains fierce, with looting recently reported at the proposed site.Egypt’s new Prime Minister Kamal al-Ganzouri said Tuesday that his government will follow through with plans to build a reactor in Dabaa 200 miles west of Cairo. The country originally planned to solicit bids in late 2010 for the construction, estimated to cost $4 billion by the World Nuclear Association, but the project was delayed during the fall of the Mubarak regime.Some local residents remain angered by the plant and what they say were unfair land seizures for the site. Egypt’s Al-Masry Al-Youm newspaper reported protests and clashes with police in Dabaa over the weekend, as well as looting at the proposed construction site. Looters made off with computers, monitoring devices for earthquakes, transformers, cables and furniture. Engineers from the country’s Atomic Energy Authority subsequently began to dismantle and remove the remaining equipment, Al-Masry Al-Youm reported.