IAEA finds no Egyptian nuclear plan

UN nuclear experts investigating undeclared Egyptian atomic experiments have found no evidence of a nuclear weapons programme.

    The UN nuclear watchdog had ordered a probe last year

    Western diplomats on Friday said the UN International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) began looking closely at Egypt last year after learning that its scientists had worked with uranium and other materials that could be used to make atomic weapons.

    The nuclear watchdog's 35-nation board of governors will meet on 28 February to discuss an internal report set to detail undeclared experiments in Egypt, they said.

    "The report will not be final, but it will already be clear from it that there is really no problem with Egypt's nuclear programme in terms of proliferation," a diplomat said.
       
    Egypt says its atomic work is for peaceful purposes only. 

    False alarm
       
    The experiments came to light after some scientists involved in the project published their research. 
      

    Egypt says the experiments are
    for peaceful purposes

    "It's nothing that's very serious," said another diplomat.

    "Egypt appears to be guilty of not informing the IAEA about work of some scientists that should have been declared." 

    But one envoy said Cairo could still expect criticism. "I think they won't get off without some stern words perhaps."
       
    News about Cairo's undeclared nuclear activity has been embarrassing for the IAEA's Egyptian Director General, Muhammad al-Baradai, who is hoping to be re-elected for a third term as its chief this year. He has declined to comment on the case.
      
    Diplomats said Egypt's violations were minor compared to the undeclared work on nuclear fuel conducted by Iran and South Korea.
     
    Last week, the head of Egypt's nuclear energy agency said the IAEA was certain Cairo's nuclear programme was sound, Egypt's official Middle East News Agency (MENA) reported.
       
    But the Vienna-based IAEA has asked Egypt to "take some corrective steps in declaring research activities", Aly Islam, head of the Egyptian Atomic Energy Authority, told MENA.

    SOURCE: Agencies


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