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Nuclear Last updated: July, 2013

While suspected of harboring nuclear weapons ambitions at various points in history (and especially under President Gamal Abdel Nasser in the 1960s), modern-day Egypt is a member in good standing of the Treaty on the Non-Proliferation of Nuclear Weapons (NPT), and is the leading proponent of establishing a Zone Free of Weapons of Mass Destruction (WMDFZ) in the Middle East. Many scholars and practitioners worry that Iran's nuclear activities could provoke an Egyptian policy reversal, but currently Egypt seems to perceive the development of nuclear weapons as counter to its national interests. [1]

Egypt's civil nuclear program is relatively sophisticated compared to most other countries in the Middle East, although it remains at the research and development stages. Egypt operates two small research reactors, and has attempted, so far unsuccessfully, to acquire nuclear power reactors. Due to ongoing political unrest and basic governance challenges in the wake of the 2011 Revolution, it remains to be seen whether the most recent attempts to establish a nuclear power program (starting in 2006 and continuing at least rhetorically under the new government), will reach fruition.

With respect to proliferation-sensitive capabilities, Egypt has developed small-scale spent-fuel management and plutonium separation technologies, which would be applicable to a nuclear weapons program. [2] However, Egypt has neither acquired power reactors nor enrichment or reprocessing capabilities, and as Mark Fitzpatrick asserts, "it is far from possessing an independent capability in the most sensitive areas of the fuel cycle." [3] While some studies suggest nuclear weapons remain popular among the general public, as well as military elites and former government officials, most experts generally agree that a number of factors coalesce to make it "possible but unlikely that Egypt will seek nuclear weapons." [4]

History

Ambiguous Nuclear Ambitions (1955 to 1981)

Gamal Nasser, who became Egypt's second president in 1954, also presided over his country's earliest notable forays into nuclear technology. Nasser founded the Egyptian Atomic Energy Commission (AEC) in 1955. The AEC was transformed into the Atomic Energy Establishment (AEE) in 1956, an organization now known as the Atomic Energy Authority (AEA). [5] Until the 1967 Six Day War, the AEE made impressive progress in developing an Egyptian nuclear infrastructure—whether Nasser intended this infrastructure to serve military or exclusively peaceful purposes remains a matter of considerable debate among scholars. Under Nasser Egypt also pursued a ballistic missile program, which one day could have yielded nuclear weapons delivery systems had the country decided to "go nuclear."

It was no coincidence that Egypt's burgeoning interest in nuclear energy closely followed U.S. President Dwight D. Eisenhower's Atoms for Peace speech to the UN General Assembly in December 1953. A related UN Conference on Peaceful Uses of Atomic Energy, held in Geneva in 1955, afforded representatives from Egypt and numerous other countries invaluable insights into starting their own nuclear programs. [6] A 2008 report by the London-based International Institute for Strategic Studies (IISS) asserts: "The conference not only provided the basic structure for the AEE's programmes, but was also the foundation for a series of negotiated bilateral cooperative agreements with foreign countries. Arguably, it was this willingness on the part of foreign countries to assist that allowed Egypt's programme to develop in the first place." [7]

Ibrahim Hilmy Abdel Rahman, the first Secretary General of the AEE, presided over nuclear developments in Egypt until 1958. During Rahman's tenure, Egypt pursued a number of nuclear cooperation agreements, most significantly concluding one with the USSR in 1956. This was followed by a 1958 bilateral reactor deal, under which the USSR supplied Egypt with a 2MWt light water research reactor (the ETRR-1, which went online in July 1961) and associated fresh and spent fuel services. Sources mentioning the deal are quick to point out that the reactor—built at Inshas and not placed under the nonproliferation inspection ("safeguards") system of the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) until the 1980s—produced only insignificant quantities of plutonium, a material potentially useable for nuclear weapons. [8] Nonetheless, Egypt's decades of experience operating a research reactor provided it with extensive dual-use experience and the opportunity to train generations of scientists and nuclear engineers.

Rahman's 1958 departure from the AEE left a void filled by two individuals: El Sayed Amin al Khashab became Secretary General of the AEE, while Salah Hedayat became its Director General. [9] Soon after, between 1960 and 1967, Egypt embarked on its most active period of nuclear program expansion. Analysts attribute much of the political and financial support for the program during this time to the 21 December 1960 announcement by Israel's Prime Minister David Ben Gurion that Israel was constructing a nuclear research reactor at Dimona. Although Ben Gurion insisted that Dimona's purposes were exclusively peaceful, the announcement precipitated significant concerns, especially in neighboring states. [10]

A subsequent chain of Egyptian statements and incidents—sometimes well documented, and in other cases alleged—are the basis for many scholars' conclusions that from 1960 to 1967 Nasser's government was pursuing nuclear weapons. [11] James Walsh, who has written perhaps the most in-depth study of Egypt's nuclear program to date, concludes: "...it is fair to say that Egypt's most intensive efforts to acquire nuclear weapons (or the capability to produce them) occurred during this phase—that is, just after the disclosure of the Dimona reactor, but before the 1967 Arab-Israeli war." [12] It is indisputable that Egypt stepped up its rhetoric on the issue of nuclear weapons following the Israeli announcement. For example, in 1961 Nasser warned that if Israel acquired such weapons, "we will secure atomic weapons at any costs." [13]

Indeed, during this period, the Egyptian government dramatically increased its investment and research into nuclear technologies. [14] It attempted quite persistently, for example, to acquire a sizeable power reactor, and was notably insistent that it be a natural uranium fueled heavy water-moderated reactor rather than a light water reactor. [15] While heavy water reactors obviate the necessity of purchasing or producing enriched uranium, they are noteworthy from a proliferation standpoint for being better producers than light water reactors—in both quantity and quality—of weapons useable plutonium. However, initially promising discussions with Siemens (for a heavy water reactor), and later Westinghouse (for a light water reactor), ultimately fell apart. [16]

Additionally, Egypt began to press the nuclear issue as part of its bilateral and multilateral talks. Numerous reports allege that Egypt explicitly requested either nuclear weapons or assistance in making them from countries such as the Soviet Union, China, and India. [17] Furthermore, Nasser's pan-Arab ambitions increasingly included mention of nuclear weapons—"At several Arab League meetings in the 1960s, Egypt proposed a pan-Arab nuclear programme to match Israel's, hosted by Egypt and financially supported by other members..." [18] None of these diplomatic initiatives are known to have borne fruit.

Interestingly, there does not appear ever to have been an unambiguous top-level political commitment to a domestic program to build nuclear weapons. Despite occasional rhetorical indications of proliferation intent, Egypt's leadership never allocated the financial resources and political capital necessary to the success of a weapons program. This suggests that while Nasser and other Egyptian policymakers explored the proliferation option on the rhetorical level, the actual development of a nuclear weapons capability was never a national priority. As the 2008 IISS report notes, "Tellingly, he [Nasser] never established a separate budget for nuclear-weapons development." [19]

Analyses of the Egyptian program universally acknowledge the crippling effects of the June 1967 Six Day War on its trajectory. Einhorn observes: "The loss of oil from the Sinai, the closure of the Suez Canal, and the decrease in foreign assistance in the aftermath of the war had a devastating impact on the Egyptian economy, and funding for the nuclear program was frozen. All AEA capital projects were canceled, and activities were limited to planning and paper studies." [20] Soon after, in 1968, Egypt signed the NPT. With Anwar Al-Sadat's assumption of power upon Nasser's death in 1970, Egyptian nuclear rhetoric again underwent a shift, with Sadat distancing himself from earlier hints that Egypt would pursue such weapons. Ironically, this retreat from a perceived interest in nuclear weapons came despite growing evidence that Israel was developing such a capability. Changes to both Egypt's leadership and its economic and geopolitical circumstances wrought changes to its attitude on how to address the Israeli threat. [21]

While the Sadat government increasingly distanced itself from nuclear weapons rhetoric, it did not abandon the long-cherished dream of an Egyptian nuclear power program. Sadat struck an eight-reactor deal with U.S. President Richard M. Nixon in 1974, but the deal fell through when "The United States introduced new conditions in the late 1970s that Egypt found unacceptable..." [22] However, Sadat's 1979 negotiation of a peace settlement with Israel dramatically altered Egypt's regional security equation and paved the way for its ratification of the NPT soon thereafter. In theory, these events might also have finally enabled Egypt to embark upon the nuclear power program it had so long desired.

Egypt Commits to Nonproliferation—But on Its Own Terms (1980 to the present)

Sadat's decision to ratify the NPT in December 1980 (followed by a parliamentary ratification on 26 February 1981) was a redefining moment for Egypt's nuclear program. Soon after, with the 1982 entry into force of its IAEA Comprehensive Safeguards Agreement (INFCIRC 302), Egypt's facilities were brought into the verification and inspection mechanism of the nonproliferation regime. [23] This period also encompassed a leadership change, as Hosni Mubarak became president in October 1981, following Sadat's assassination.

Thus, in contrast to the previous position of ambiguity and opaqueness, the Egyptian stance became one of unambiguous commitment to nonproliferation, accompanied by full transparency under the IAEA system. But Egypt's decision to ratify the NPT and accept non-nuclear weapon state status was taken out of rational self-interest. Accordingly, its actions vis-à-vis the nonproliferation regime since that time have been only conditionally supportive. Since ratifying the NPT, Egypt's nuclear policies have fallen into two broad categories: (1) a fluctuating interest in and commitment to a domestic nuclear power program; and (2) a well-articulated, but highly complicated position on the nonproliferation regime. While consistently leading efforts to establish a Middle East Nuclear-Weapon-Free Zone and since 1990, a WMD-Free Zone, Egypt has also been a controversial actor at the NPT review conferences, and has refused to join numerous agreements relevant to nonproliferation on the basis of Israel's non-participation in the NPT. [24]

Ironically, while the historical record suggests that Egypt finally ratified the NPT in large part because it was finding it prohibitively difficult to purchase power reactors from outside the regime [25], government interest in nuclear power declined significantly when Mubarak took office in 1981. The Mubarak government initially moved forward with Sadat's plans, including negotiating for reactors with the United States, France, and West Germany. However, the sudden weakening of the Egyptian economy and the April 1986 Chernobyl catastrophe made the deals both unattractive and unfeasible for Egypt. [26] Over the next two decades, interest in nuclear energy resurfaced periodically, but the government never committed to the idea sufficiently for power reactors to be built. Egypt's most significant improvement to its nuclear technology capabilities was its purchase of a 22MWt light water research reactor from the Argentinean company INVAP in September 1992. [27] The ETRR-2 was completed in 1997 at the Inshas Nuclear Research Center and operates on 19.75 percent enriched uranium (unsuitable for nuclear weapons without further enrichment).

Egypt's position vis-à-vis the nonproliferation regime has been two-fold since its NPT ratification. While consistently leading the efforts to establish a Middle East Nuclear Weapons-Free Zone (and since 1990 a WMD-Free Zone), Egypt has also criticized key components of the nonproliferation regime because of their lack of universality (i.e. because Israel remains outside the NPT). Egypt has also spoken out against the growth of nonproliferation measures in the absence of progress on nuclear disarmament. Egypt has therefore refused to sign the IAEA Additional Protocol and the Chemical Weapons Convention, and to ratify the Comprehensive Nuclear Test Ban Treaty, the African Nuclear Weapon-Free Zone (the Pelindaba Treaty), and the Biological and Toxin Weapons Convention. [28]

At the 1995 NPT Review and Extension Conference, Egypt threatened to block consensus on the indefinite extension of the treaty, [29] and only agreed to an extension in return for the conference's adoption of a Resolution on the Middle East. The resolution, co-sponsored by the three NPT depositaries (Russia, United Kingdom and the United States) called upon all states in the region "to take practical steps in appropriate forums aimed at making progress towards, inter alia, the establishment of an effectively verifiable Middle East zone free of weapons of mass destruction...." It also placed a special responsibility on the three co-sponsors to support efforts towards creating the zone. [30]

In part because of intense Egyptian pressure for substantive action on the issue, the Final Document produced at the 2010 NPT Review Conference called on the UN Secretary General and the three co-sponsors, in consultation with all regional states, to convene a conference in 2012 on the establishment of a Middle East WMD-free zone. [31] Disagreements over core issues, as well as ongoing instability in the region, however, prevented the conference from taking place within the proposed timeframe. As of mid-2013, no agreement has been reached on the probable timing for rescheduling the conference. Egypt expressed strong displeasure with the conference's postponement, stating "Egypt refused the announced excuses not to hold a conference in 2012 as scheduled," pointing specifically to Israel's "non-constructive attitudes." [32] During a meeting of the NPT PrepCom in April 2013, the Egyptian delegation unilaterally walked out in protest of the 2012 conference's postponement. [33]

Recent Developments and Current Status

More than two decades after its comprehensive safeguards agreement entered into force, the Egyptian government found itself the subject of an IAEA investigation into possible compliance violations. In 2004, the Agency charged Egypt with failing to report uranium irradiation experiments conducted between 1990 and 2003, and to include imports of uranium material in its initial inventory. [34] While the activities themselves were permissible, they should have been reported to the Agency in a timely manner and continually monitored.

The 2005 Director General's report to the IAEA Board of Governors highlighted compliance problems falling into the categories of "uranium conversion experiments, uranium and thorium irradiation experiments, and preparatory activities related to reprocessing." [35] In its defense, the Egyptian government argued that: "Differing interpretations of some aspects of the Comprehensive Safeguards Agreement, especially with regard to the developments that have occurred in the Safeguards System since the mid 1990's, have resulted in not reporting to the Agency in an appropriate and manner, a number of research experiments and activities." [36]

While the IAEA concluded that no explicit policy of concealment seemed to exist, the Director General reported that "...repeated failures by Egypt to report nuclear material and facilities to the Agency in a timely manner are a matter of concern." Nevertheless, the Agency welcomed "[t]he cooperation extended by Egypt since the September 2004 meeting in clarifying these issues and in granting the Agency access necessary for it to carry out its assessment of the correctness and completeness of Egypt's declarations." [37] Similarly, a U.S. statement to the Board of Governors highlighted the sense that Egypt's cooperative response to the investigation greatly mitigated any concerns brought about by its reporting violations: "...Egypt is demonstrating the appropriate means for resolving outstanding safeguards issues, specifically full cooperation with the IAEA on steps to address all concerns." [38] The 2004 IAEA investigation established a benchmark, and it appeared for some time that the issue had been fully resolved. [39] However, traces of highly enriched uranium were detected at Inshas in 2007 and 2008, necessitating repeated IAEA probes into the country's nuclear program. [40]

Developments since 2006 had suggested that the Egyptian government, after decades of indifference, was once again strongly interested in investing in a nuclear power program. Early indications of official interest included Gamal Mubarak's call for Egypt to pursue nuclear energy during the September 2006 National Democratic Party conference, soon followed by similar statements by President Mubarak, his father. [41] In March 2007, Energy and Electricity Minister Hassan Younis announced plans to construct "10 nuclear-powered electricity-generating stations across the country." [42] In 2009, the Egyptian Nuclear Power Plant Authority (NPAA) and WorleyParsons Limited concluded a $160 million consultancy services contract. Services provided under the contract include "site and technology selection studies and carries through to design, construction management, commissioning and start-up [of the 1,200 MWe nuclear power plant]." [43] In 2010, Cairo also formally requested nuclear energy training assistance from South Korea's Korea International Cooperation Agency (KOICA). [44] At that time, then-President Mubarak also announced that the first nuclear power plant would definitely be built in El-Dabaa. [45]

Despite the Arab Spring and subsequent leadership changes, Egypt's Ministry of Electricity and Energy (MoEE) announced in spring 2011 that the country would move ahead with the plan, aiming to complete four nuclear power plants by 2025, and to have the first one operational in 2019. [46] A number of international companies have expressed interest in bidding for the project, including Alstom Company (France), Atomic Energy of Canada Limited, China National Nuclear Corporation, Korea Electric Power Corporation (KEPCO), Rosatom Nuclear Energy State Corporation (Russia), and Westinghouse Electric Company (USA). [47] The costs of the project are estimated at around $1.5 billion [48], and the National Bank of Egypt was initially tasked with raising the required funds. [49] However, to strengthen KEPCO's bid, South Korea indicated that it would be willing to provide below-market-rate loans to Egypt and to assist in the development of relevant infrastructure. [50] Shortly before being removed from office, then-President Morsi made a diplomatic trip to Russia, during which he invited Rosatom to send a team to Egypt to restart cooperation on nuclear energy, and proposed Russian participation in developing Egypt's uranium resources. [51]
 
Perhaps the most contentious issue to surface over Egypt's renewed interest in nuclear power has been the question of whether or not it will build indigenous enrichment and/or reprocessing facilities. Consistent with its refusal to enter into any new nonproliferation agreements, absent Israeli (and full regional) participation, Egypt insists that it has every right under the NPT to a complete nuclear fuel cycle. [52] As Egyptian Ambassador Nabil Fahmy has asserted, "What we've spoken out against are any attempts to limit the right of state-parties to the NPT to the full fuel cycle..." [53] He went on to suggest, however, that while Egypt claims the right to this capability, whether it will choose to exercise that right is a different matter. "There is a fundamental difference here," he stated, "between 'Do I have the right to buy or to acquire this technology?' and 'Do I decide that it's the right thing for me to do?'" [54]

Only time will tell whether Egypt's next government will ultimately invest the political and financial resources required to build one or more nuclear power plants. Although some argue that the program is a hedge against Iran's ostensibly peaceful centrifuge-based uranium enrichment program, it remains unlikely that Egypt will develop nuclear weapons in the near future even if Iran obtains them. Key members of the interim government that took power in July 2013 oppose the pursuit of nuclear weapons. The new prime minister, Hazem el-Beblawi, is a moderate economist who has written OpEds arguing that nuclear weapons can "lead to consequences that go against moral values." [55] Mohammed El-Baradei, who has been named as vice-president, is the former Director General of the IAEA and a recipient of the Nobel Peace Prize for "efforts to prevent nuclear energy from being used for military purposes and to ensure that nuclear energy for peaceful purposes is used in the safest possible way." [56]

While the long-term effects of recent leadership changes and the ensuing power struggles on Egypt's nuclear policy remain difficult to forecast, a 2008 Economist article on the general state of Egyptian politics makes an argument that remains applicable today to its nuclear weapons considerations: "...whoever runs Egypt, the task of housing, feeding and schooling all those millions, let alone overhauling the country's myriad crumbling institutions, will leave little energy for other adventures." [57]

Sources:
[1] On the debate over whether Egypt would pursue nuclear weapons in the wake of an Iranian nuclear weapons capability, see: Robert J. Einhorn, "Egypt: Frustrated but Still on a Non-Nuclear Course," The Nuclear Tipping Point, Eds. Kurt M. Campbell, Robert J. Einhorn, and Mitchell B. Reiss, Washington, DC: Brookings Institution Press, 2004, Chapter 4, pp. 43-82.
[2] "Egypt: the usual suspect," in Nuclear Programmes in the Middle East: In the Shadow of Iran (London: International Institute of Strategic Studies, 2008), p. 17.
[3] Mark Fitzpatrick, "Background Paper: Nuclear Capabilities in the Middle East," The EU Non-Proliferation Consortium, July 2011, p. 12, www.nonproliferation.eu.
[4] For public, military, and government officials' support of acquiring nuclear weapons, see Maria Rost Rublee, "Egypt's Nuclear Weapons Program," The Nonproliferation Review (November 2006), p. 555; For factors which work against Egypt's acquisition of nuclear weapons see: Jim Walsh, "Will Egypt Seek Nuclear Weapons? An Assessment of Motivations, Constraints, Consequences and Policy Options," in William Potter and Gaukhar Mukhatzhanova, eds., Forecasting Nuclear Proliferation in the 21st Century, Vol. 2: A Comparative Perspective (Stanford University Press, 2010), pp. 13-41.
[5] IAEA, "Country Nuclear Power Profiles: Egypt," August 2005, www-pub.iaea.org.
[6] For background on Atoms for Peace, and its role in the global spread of nuclear technology see: Peter R. Lavoy, "The Enduring Effects of Atoms for Peace," Arms Control Today, December 2003, www.armscontrol.org/act.
[7] Nuclear Programmes in the Middle East: In the Shadow of Iran, ed. Mark Fitzpatrick, (London: The International Institute for Strategic Studies, 2008), p. 18.
[8] Nuclear Programmes in the Middle East: In the Shadow of Iran, ed. Mark Fitzpatrick, (London: The International Institute for Strategic Studies, 2008), p. 18.
[9] Einhorn asserts: "An indication of the program's enhanced military orientation was the appointment of Salah Hedayat—a leading proponent of an Egyptian nuclear weapons capability with close ties to the Egyptian military..." Robert J. Einhorn, "Egypt: Frustrated but Still on a Non-Nuclear Course," in The Nuclear Tipping Point, ed. Kurt M. Campbell, Robert J. Einhorn, and Mitchell B. Reiss (Washington, DC: Brookings Institution Press, 2004), p. 45.
[10] Maria Rost Rublee, "Egypt's Nuclear Weapons Program: Lessons Learned," Nonproliferation Review (November 2006), p. 557.
[11] Maria Rost Rublee, "Egypt's Nuclear Weapons Program: Lessons Learned," Nonproliferation Review (November 2006), p. 556; Robert J. Einhorn, "Egypt: Frustrated but Still on a Non-Nuclear Course," in The Nuclear Tipping Point, ed. Kurt M. Campbell, Robert J. Einhorn, and Mitchell B. Reiss (Washington, DC: Brookings Institution Press, 2004), p. 45.
[12] James Walsh, Bombs Unbuilt: Power, Ideas, and Institutions in International Politics (PhD dissertation, Massachusetts Institute of Technology, 2001).
[13] Etel Solingen, Nuclear Logics: Contrasting Paths in East Asia & the Middle East (Princeton, NJ: Princeton University Press, 2007), p. 239.
[14] Robert J. Einhorn, "Egypt: Frustrated but Still on a Non-Nuclear Course," in The Nuclear Tipping Point, ed. Kurt M. Campbell, Robert J. Einhorn, and Mitchell B. Reiss (Washington, DC: Brookings Institution Press, 2004), pp. 45-46.
[15] Maria Rost Rublee cites a former Egyptian military official as claiming that the heavy water reactors Egypt was pursuing at that time "...were designed to be a plutonium route to nuclear weapons." Maria Rost Rublee, "Egypt's Nuclear Weapons Program: Lessons Learned," Nonproliferation Review (November 2006), p. 558.
[16] For details of the ill-fated bidding process and its aftermath, see: James Walsh, Bombs Unbuilt: Power, Ideas, and Institutions in International Politics (PhD dissertation, Massachusetts Institute of Technology, 2001), 161-163.
[17] Nuclear Programmes in the Middle East: In the shadow of Iran, ed. Mark Fitzpatrick, (London: The International Institute for Strategic Studies, 2008), pp. 19-20.
[18] Nuclear Programmes in the Middle East: In the shadow of Iran, ed. Mark Fitzpatrick, (London: The International Institute for Strategic Studies, 2008), p. 19.
[19] Nuclear Programmes in the Middle East: In the shadow of Iran, ed. Mark Fitzpatrick, (London: The International Institute for Strategic Studies, 2008), p. 19.
[20] Robert J. Einhorn, "Egypt: Frustrated but Still on a Non-Nuclear Course," in The Nuclear Tipping Point, ed. Kurt M. Campbell, Robert J. Einhorn, and Mitchell B. Reiss (Washington, DC: Brookings Institution Press, 2004), pp. 46-47.
[21] For a political economy argument on why Sadat's government did not pursue nuclear weapons, see: Etel Solingen, Nuclear Logics: Contrasting Paths in East Asia & the Middle East (Princeton, NJ: Princeton University Press, 2007).
[22] Etel Solingen, Nuclear Logics: Contrasting Paths in East Asia & the Middle East (Princeton, NJ: Princeton University Press, 2007), p. 235.
[23] IAEA, "INFCIRC 302," July 1983, www.iaea.org.
[24] Nabil Fahmy, "Mindful of the Middle East," The Nonproliferation Review (March 2011), pp. 165-181.
[25] For a discussion of the reasons Sadat pushed NPT ratification, see: Robert J. Einhorn, "Egypt: Frustrated but Still on a Non-Nuclear Course," in The Nuclear Tipping Point, ed. Kurt M. Campbell, Robert J. Einhorn, and Mitchell B. Reiss (Washington, DC: Brookings Institution Press, 2004), p. 50.
[26] Etel Solingen, Nuclear Logics: Contrasting Paths in East Asia & the Middle East (Princeton, NJ: Princeton University Press, 2007), p. 230.
[27] INVAP and the Egyptian Atomic Energy Authority both publicize the reactor as possessing a 22MW capacity. Conversely, an IAEA report on Egypt lists the ETRR-2 as a 22.5MW reactor. It is unclear which of these figures is correct, but most analyses of Egyptian capabilities cite the 22MW capacity. See: INVAP website, "Reactor ETRR-2 (Egypt)", www.invap.net. Egyptian Atomic Energy Authority website, "Tandem Accelerator," www.eaea.org.eg. IAEA, "Implementation of the NPT Safeguards Agreement in the Arab Republic of Egypt: Report by the Director General," 14 February 2005, p. 2, www.iaea.org.
[28] See: "Inventory of International Nonproliferation Organizations and Regimes: Egypt," The James Martin Center for Nonproliferation Studies: www.nti.org.
[29] Joseph Cirincione, Jon B. Wolfsthal, and Miriam Rajkumar, Deadly Arsenals: Nuclear, Biological, and Chemical Threats, Second ed. (Washington, DC: Carnegie Endowment for International Peace, 2005), p. 267.
[30] Rebecca Stevens and Amin Tarzi, "Egypt and the Middle East Resolution at the NPT 2000 Review Conference," CNS Reports, 24 April 2000, cns.miis.edu.
[31] William Potter, Patricia Lewis, Gaukhar Mukhatzhanova, and Miles Pomper, "The 2010 NPT Review Conference: Deconstructing Consensus," CNS Special Report, 17 June 2010, www.cns.miis.edu.
[32] Joel Gulhane, "WMD-free Middle East conference postponed," Daily News Egypt, 26 November 2012, www.dailynewsegypt.com.
[33] Elaine M. Grossman, "Egypt Stages Walkout Over Failure to Convene Mideast WMD Summit," Global Security Newswire, 30 April 2013.
[34] IAEA, "Implementation of the NPT Safeguards Agreement in the Arab Republic of Egypt: Report by the Director General," 14 February 2005.
[35] IAEA, "Implementation of the NPT Safeguards Agreement in the Arab Republic of Egypt: Report by the Director General," 14 February 2005.
[36] "Note Verbale, From the Embassy of the Arab Republic of Egypt to the International Atomic Agency," IAEA, 1 February 2005.
[37] IAEA, "Implementation of the NPT Safeguards Agreement in the Arab Republic of Egypt: Report by the Director General," 14 February 2005.
[38] Greg Webb, "Case Closed on Egyptian Nuclear Research," Global Security Newswire, 4 March 2005.
[39] James Walsh, "Will Egypt Seek Nuclear Weapons? An Assessment of Motivations, Constraints, Consequences and Policy Options," in William Potter and Gaukhar Mukhatzhanova, eds., Forecasting Nuclear Proliferation in the 21st Century. Vol. 2: A Comparative Perspective, (Stanford University Press, 2010), p.16.
[40] "IAEA probes enriched uranium found in Egypt, says report," Associated Press, 12 November 2010, www.egyptindependent.com; Hisham Omar Abdel HalimSun, "Egypt denies discovery by IAEA of enriched uranium at nuclear facility," Nuclear News, 14 November 2010, http://nuclear-news.net.
[41] "Mubarak's Son Proposes Developing Nuclear Energy," Associated Press, 19 September 2006.
[42] James M. Acton and Wyn Q. Bowen, "Atoms for Peace in the Middle East: The Technical and Regulatory Requirements," NPEC Working Paper Series, 2008, p. 12.
[43] "1,200 megawatt nuclear power plant in Egypt," WorleyParsons Press Release, 19 June 2009, www.worleyparsons.com.
[44] "South Korea to train Egyptian nuclear engineers," World Nuclear News, 21 January 2010, www.world-nuclear-news.org.
[45] "Egypt: 1st Nuclear Plant Site Announced," Associated Press, 25 August 2010, www.jpost.com.
[46] "Egypt says to press ahead with nuclear tender," Reuters, 9 March 2011, http://af.reuters.com.
[47] "Asian banks and companies compete to win Egypt nuclear tender," Egypt Independent, 22 January 2011, www.egyptindependent.com.
[48] "Egypt unveils nuclear power plan," BBC News, 25 September 2006, www.bbc.co.uk.
[49] "Egypt bank to help fund nuclear power plans," Reuters (UK), 6 April 2010, www.uk.reuters.com.
[50] "Asian banks and companies compete to win Egypt nuclear tender," Egypt Independent, 22 January 2011, www.egyptindependent.com.
[51] "Egypt invites Russia to mine uranium, build nuclear power plants," RT News, 20 April 2013.
[52] The Egyptian statement at the 2008 NPT PrepCom had an articulation of a long-standing position in this regard: "Egypt rejects any attempts to impose additional obligations on non-nuclear weapon states...if they are not reciprocated by equal and commensurate measures by states that still lie outside the treaty and are not bound by Comprehensive Safeguards Agreements." Leonard S. Spector and Benjamin Radford, "Algeria, Emirates Plan Nonproliferation-Friendly Nuclear Programs; Egypt Keeps Fuel Cycle Options Open, Rejects Expanded IAEA Monitoring," WMD Insights, June 2008, www.wmdinsights.com.
[53] Miles Pomper and Peter Crail, "Interview with Nabil Fahmy, Egyptian Ambassador to the United States," Arms Control Association, 21 July 2008, www.armscontrol.org.
[54] Miles Pomper and Peter Crail, "Interview with Nabil Fahmy, Egyptian Ambassador to the United States," Arms Control Association, 21 July 2008, www.armscontrol.org.
[55] Hazem el-Bebalwi, "ElBaradei's return prompts nuclear questions for Egypt," Egypt Independent, 3 February 2010.
[56] "International Atomic Energy Agency – Facts," Nobelprize.org, Nobel Media AB, 2013.
[57] "Egypt: Will the dam burst?" The Economist, 11 September 2008, www.economist.com.

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This material is produced independently for NTI by the James Martin Center for Nonproliferation Studies at the Monterey Institute of International Studies and does not necessarily reflect the opinions of and has not been independently verified by NTI or its directors, officers, employees, or agents.

Get the Facts on Egypt

  • Not a member of the BTWC or the CWC
  • Used chemical weapons during the 1960s conflict in North Yemen
  • Maintains two nuclear research reactors