Should We Help Egypt Go Nuclear?

The biggest Australian engineering firm Worley Parsons, an ASX-listed company, has just won a $160 million contract to help build Nuclear Power Plants for the Arab Republic of Egypt.

According to a Bloomberg article, the contract will provide “engineering and advisory services” including  “training Egyptian nuclear engineers, advising on which technology to use and best construction locations”.

I have very strong reservations about this deal.  Egypt is an Arab-Muslim country. At the moment, the current Egyptian Government is somewhat friendly to the West and uses overwhelming force to prevent its home-grown Islamic fanatics taking control, but this could change overnight.

There are many different designs for electricity-producing nuclear reactors, some of which are designed to avoid producing weapons-grade nuclear fuels as by-products. A the moment, I have no idea what sort of design Worley Parsons plans to recommend to the Egyptians.

My fear is that the reactors could be converted to allow production of weapons grade nuclear fuels, or that Egypt will learn enough to be able to build new reactors specialised for this purpose. The last thing we need is another Islamic regime with nukes.

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