Cairo: Egypt will build several civilian nuclear power stations to meet its growing energy needs, President Hosni Mubarak said yesterday, but did not indicate when the programme would get under way.
The president made the announcement a few days ahead of the annual congress of his ruling National Democratic Party (NDP) and a year after his politician son floated the idea of a peaceful nuclear programme. Mubarak did not say how much the programme would cost or how funding would be secured.
"We have to face the fact that oil and gas in the end are non-renewable energy sources," Mubarak said in a speech after inaugurating an electricity station.
"And we also have to admit that we are facing a great challenge to meet increasing consumption." Political analyst Mustafa Kamal Al Saeed said the plans to develop nuclear energy appeared serious, partly to show that the younger Mubarak has made good on his proposal as he prepares for another party congress.
Cairo suspended a peaceful nuclear programme after the Chernobyl disaster in 1986. Egypt ratified the Non-Proliferation Treaty in 1981 and has two research reactors.
In Washington, the White House said it had little information about Egypt's plans to relaunch its nuclear power programme.
"I don't know a lot about it. In general, we are supportive of countries pursuing civil nuclear energy. It's clean burning. It provides electricity in a clean-burning and affordable way for citizens," said spokeswoman Dana Perino.