Special to WorldTribune.com – 2012-06-09 01:11:48
3,000 Bedouins Attack Egyptian Reactor Site
CAIRO (February 17, 2012) — The Egyptian government, amid opposition by Bedouins and environmentalists, has reaffirmed its nuclear energy program.
On Jan. 13, an estimated 3,000 Bedouins and environmentalists stormed Dabaa, located along the western Mediterranean coast. Officials said the government has estimated damage at the reactor construction site at $80 million.
Prime Minister Kamal Ganzouri said Egypt would continue with plans to construct the first of up to eight nuclear energy reactors. In a meeting with the Cabinet on Jan. 17, Ganzouri said the government followed all requirements in the acquisition of the land allocated to the nuclear reactor at Dabaa.
â€œThose that are trying to stop the project are doing so illegally,â€ Ganzouri said. â€œWe believe there are commercial interests aligned with the previous regime [of former President Hosni Mubarak] who seek to stop the project,â€ an official said.
International Cooperation and Planning Minister Faiza Abu Al Naga said the attack on Dabaa was organized and designed to loot equipment at the construction site. Ms. Abu Al Naga said rioters stole computers, earthquake monitoring systems, transformers and cables.
â€œThe Bedouins with claims will be given compensation,â€ Ms. Abu Al Nagaâ€¨said.
On Jan. 19, Egyptâ€™s official Al Ahram daily reported that radioactive material was stolen from Dabaa during the violence. Al Ahram said a container with radioactive material was stolen while another was broken and some of its contents removed.
Bedouins from the Gamat tribe have asserted that they owned the Dabaa site and have not received compensation. On Jan. 13, 41 people were injured, including 29 soldiers, in an attack by Bedouins on the construction site.
â€œThe government will be firm on this issue to prevent any precedent,â€ Ms. Abu Al Naga said.
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