March 31, 2011 / 3:42 PM / in 7 years

Egypt asks IAEA to review nuclear plan post Japan

CAIRO (Reuters) - Egypt said on Thursday it had asked the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) to review the technical specifications of a planned nuclear plant to see if it can be improved to better withstand disasters.

The crisis at Japan’s Fukushima nuclear complex that was battered by a magnitude 9.0 earthquake and a 14-metre (46-foot) tsunami has prompted experts to check the safety and security of nuclear plants around the world.

“After the Japanese crisis, there are lessons to be learnt and updates to be made,” Egypt’s Energy Ministry spokesman Aktham Abul Ela told Reuters by telephone.

“The site of the plant won’t change, but there might be precautionary instalments on its building in case of an earthquake, even though it’s a third-generation model with passive safety systems, and not first-generation as in the case of Fukushima,” he said.

Fukushima, which continues to leak radiation more than two weeks after the earthquake and tsunami, is the world’s worst atomic incident since Chernobyl in 1986.

The state MENA news agency quoted Electricity and Energy Minister Hassan Younes as saying Egypt had asked the IAEA to send a nuclear expert to make the review.

Egypt wants to build four nuclear plants by 2025 to help it shift from oil and gas to other energy sources, and in March Younes gave the go-ahead for a tender to build the plant at Dabaa on the Mediterranean coast, with operation due to begin in 2019.

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