( dpa )- Egyptian President Hosny Mubarak is expected to sign a nuclear cooperation deal with Russia during a visit starting later Monday in Moscow, Egyptian press reports said. Last October, Mubarak announced that Egypt would build civilian nuclear power plants to meet growing energy needs. Egypt's oil and gas reserves are estimated to be around 15.5 billion barrels, which experts say will only be enough for 35 years at current production and consumption rates. The Russian ambassador to Egypt said both countries were expected to sign a nuclear cooperation protocol during Mubarak's visit, the Egyptian daily al- Ahram reported Monday. Russia, which is also helping Iran develop its nuclear programme , has offered to provide Egypt with nuclear know-how and expertise. Egypt has also received offers from China and Kazakhstan but indicated that the final decision would be made in 2009. Egyptian independent daily al- Masri al- Youm quoted official sources as saying last week that the US was opposed to a potential nuclear cooperation deal between Moscow and Cairo. The US Secretary of Energy Samuel Bodman discussed during a visit to Cairo in January the country joining the Global Nuclear Energy Partnership (GNEP). Under the GNEP, which was launched by Bodman in February 2006, the US seeks to work with other countries to reprocess spent nuclear fuel for peaceful uses. Partner nations would provide nuclear fuel to developing countries allowing them the benefits of clean, safe nuclear energy at a reasonable cost in return for a commitment not to enrich and reprocess spent nuclear fuel for the production of nuclear weapons. Egypt ratified the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty in 1981 and has two research reactors.
Egypt's Mubarak to seek Russian nuclear expertise on Moscow visit
24 March 2008 18:47 (UTC+04:00)