Egypt imposes media gag on unstated probes into Dabaa nuclear power plant
The Egyptian Ministry of Electricity and Russia’s state-owned Rosatom signed Nov. 19 a contract for the Dabaa plant’s construction.

CAIRO: Egypt’s Attorney-General Nabil Sadek imposed Saturday a media gag on unannounced investigations conducted by the Supreme Public Fund Prosecution (SPFP) on construction of Egypt’s first nuclear power plant in the Mediterranean city of Dabaa, according to a statement issued from the General Prosecution office.

The media gag was imposed “to ensure the safety of the investigation and the justice sought by the General Prosecution in accordance with the rule of law,” said the statement.

However, the decision did not reveal the reasons behind the investigation.

On Dec. 21, state news agency MENA reported that the Attorney General office has imposed a media gag and instructed media outlets not publish any content on the NPP without taking permission from “the concerned security bodies and the Ministry of Electricity and Renewable Resources.” However, Minister of Electricity and Renewable Resources Mohamed Shaker denied.

On Nov. 19, the Egyptian Ministry of Electricity and Russia’s state-owned Rosatom signed a contract for the construction of the plant.  Russia Today reported Thursday the plant construction has come into forces since January 13.

The plant’s construction is to be accomplished in two phases; Russia will build four reactors, while the other four reactors will be offered for an international tender. The construction works are scheduled to start in mid-2016 to be completed by 2022. Costs of all four reactors are estimated at $20 billion as $5 billion for each, per the contract.

Russia will fund 80 percent of the plant constructions; President Abdel Fatah al-Sisi announced in the signing ceremony that his country will repay Russia a loan over 35 years from the revenues of electricity that will be produced from the plant. He did not mention the value of the loan.

In 1981, Egypt allocated the Dabaa area in the Mediterranean governorate of Matrouh, 183.9 miles to the northwest of Cairo, to build the plant of 55 square kilometers.

Recently, Prime Minister Sherirf Smail announced Egypt will start producing power from the nuclear power plant by 2024.

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