CAIRO: The planned tender process for Egypt’s first nuclear power plant has been postponed until the political situation stabilizes, reported a state-owned newspaper.
The decision, made by the Ministry of Electricity and Energy, was made in an effort to “guarantee the largest number of companies from different countries take part to ensure real competition” in the bidding process, stated Al-Ahram.
The nuclear program in Egypt was frozen in 1986 after the Chernobyl disaster in Ukraine and was re-launched in 2007 by former president Hosni Mubarak by announcing plans to build four civil nuclear power stations by 2025.
The plants will be built under the supervision of the International Atomic Energy Agency.
The postponed power plant was announced in August 2010 and set to be constructed in the Mediterranean coast city of El-Dabaa. The bid period was set to close at the end of January, but due to revolution, has been delayed.
The first nuclear power plant was expected to finish construction and be fully operational by 2019 with an expected cost of between $1.5 billion and $1.8 billion.
The summer of 2010 was marred with frequent power outages as demand soared and caused the government to look into more investments in the country’s energy sector.
A deal was also signed with WorleyParsons, based in Australia, for nuclear power consultancy.
The international consultancy firm is currently working with the ministry to attempt to look into other locations in the country for the construction of the nuclear plants as well as to develop the essential infrastructure
The government’s hope is that the nuclear program will add a capacity of up to 4,000 megawatts by 2025 when all construction is completed and the plants are fully operational.
Egypt currently has a capacity of 23,500 MW, but has announced before its plans to reach an additional 58,000 MW of capacity by 2027 to accommodate rising demand.
At the time, Energy Minister Hassan Younes was reported as saying interest in the bids has come in from all around the world, including France, the United States, Japan, China and Russia.
The winner of the bid was set to be announced by the end of July or beginning of August 2012, but it is not yet clear whether the postponement will delay the winner announcement or not as Younes was not available immediately for comment.