Egypt: Ever Art crosses Suez Canal on its first voyage    IFC loans Egypt's El Sewedy $150 million for more access to renewable energy in Africa    Gold prices in Egypt on June 29    Saudi citizens could enter Schengen countries visa-free    Egypt's Petrojet returns to Libyan oil sector after 11 years    Cemex, VeryNile sign deal for Egypt's Nile River    NATO remarks Egypt's role in maintaining stability in Middle East and Africa    Congo needs Egypt's expertise to diversify its economy – FPI official    Dostarlimab drug cures rectal cancer patient 100%, trials show    Egypt: A royal train turns into a new tourism attraction    Conclusions and Recommendations of the 1st edition of Africa Health ExCon    For the first time John Legend to perform in Egypt    Egypt discovers newly treasure trove of ancient artifacts at Saqqara Necropolis    Noura Al-Mutair – first Gulf female boxer in World Championships    Liverpool fans: "You'll Never Walk Alone" to Cristiano Ronaldo    Egypt to play key role in integrating water, climate issues globally – World Bank official    Egypt's telecoms regulator announces working hours for holy month of Ramadan    Maha karara joins AAIB as Head of Corporate Communications, Sustainability    Egypt works on charting cooperation strategies with international institutions for 5 years: Al-Mashat    Over 2.4 million newborns examined for hearing impairment: Health Ministry    Netflix releases trailer of Arab adaption of 'Perfect Strangers' film    Balqees to headline concert celebrating launch of streaming giant LIVENow in MENA    Sawsan Badr to be honoured at Aswan Women Film Festival    MP Abdel Hady Al-Qasby calls government to facilitate and support NGOs    Al-Sisi follows up on 'Great Transfiguration Project' in St. Catherine    Cairo, London stress need to strengthen cooperation to face climate change    Foreigners account for 22.6% of Egypt's T-bills issuances in 1H 2021: CBE    Egypt's ambassador to Italy passes away    Egypt confirms readiness to help African countries face terrorism and extremism    An estimated 235 million people needed humanitarian assistance and protection in 2021, an increase of 40% compared to 2020: IOM Egypt    Egypt, DRC discuss water cooperation during WYF    Egypt, DR Congo discuss boosting bilateral cooperation during WYF    Cameroonian police probe assault on three Algerian journalists covering AFCON    Pharaohs start AFCON 2021 campaign with fierce clash against Nigeria    Foreign Ministry opens capacity building course for French-speaking African diplomats    Egypt's trade with Nile basin countries climbs 26% y-o-y in 9 months    Russia says it's in sync with US, China, Pakistan on Taliban    It's a bit frustrating to draw at home: Real Madrid keeper after Villarreal game    Shoukry reviews with Guterres Egypt's efforts to achieve SDGs, promote human rights    Sudan says countries must cooperate on vaccines    Johnson & Johnson: Second shot boosts antibodies and protection against COVID-19    Egypt to tax bloggers, YouTubers    Egypt's FM asserts importance of stability in Libya, holding elections as scheduled    We mustn't lose touch: Muller after Bayern win in Bundesliga    Egypt records 36 new deaths from Covid-19, highest since mid June    Egypt sells $3 bln US-dollar dominated eurobonds    Gamal Hanafy's ceramic exhibition at Gezira Arts Centre is a must go    Italian Institute Director Davide Scalmani presents activities of the Cairo Institute for ITALIANA.IT platform    







Thank you for reporting!
This image will be automatically disabled when it gets reported by several people.



At risk?
Published in Al-Ahram Weekly on 16 - 06 - 2011

The restarting of Egypt's Inshas nuclear facility continues to face difficulties, including allegations of radioactive leaks, reports Mohamed Abdel-Baky
Controversy over alleged radiation leaks from the Egyptian nuclear research reactors at Inshas continued for a second week this week with officials strongly denying the reports and saying that all the country's nuclear agencies were working to the highest professional standards in order to prevent any possibility of radiation risks.
The controversy erupted when the Al-Dostour website published a report early last week saying that at least 10 cubic metres of radioactive liquid had leaked from the Inshas nuclear reactors on 25 May, putting civilians living in the Sharqiya and Qalioubiya governorates in danger.
The government responded by issuing a statement denying any radiation leak, saying that "several media outlets have been spreading false information" regarding the Inshas research plant.
The statement added that Egyptian Nuclear Safety Agency (ENSA) inspectors had visited the reactors on Sunday, and measurements had indicated that radiation levels at the site were within the allowed range.
The statement also said that inspectors from the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) had visited the facility last month and had also taken samples and radiation measurements. They too had not observed an increase in radiation above the allowed range.
The director of the Egyptian Atomic Energy Authority (EAEA) urged the media to avoid giving false reports of an alleged radiation leak at the Inshas nuclear facility. The EAEA confirmed that radiation levels at the facility were within the safe range, in line with reports issued by nuclear safety experts.
Earlier this month, the government announced that it would restart the Inshas nuclear reactors on 21 June, the decision contradicting an earlier announcement by the chairman of the ENSA, who had insisted that the reactors would only start operating under the supervision of the Argentinean company that built the facility.
The Inshas nuclear research centre, located 60km east of Cairo, consists of two reactors, and it was initially funded by the former USSR in 1961. The reactors were shut down in 1986 after the Chernobyl disaster.
In the wake of the current controversy, the head of the nuclear reactor department at Inshas, Naguib Ashoob, invited the Egyptian and foreign media to visit the facility last Thursday.
He said the plant had been monitored on 26 May by inspectors from the IAEA, who had not recorded any radiation leakage even using the most sensitive equipment.
However, the official story has been met with criticism from former officials at the EAEA, who have claimed that the "the fact that the reactor was by mere chance not operated the next day saved the area from environmental disaster."
One such official, Samir Mekheimar, the former director of the Inshas research centre who was sacked in January, said that a leak had taken place on 25 May as a result of an operator error and that the EAEA had ordered staff not to publicise it.
He added that the incident was the second leak at Inshas in a year.
ENSA inspector Hani Amer, who visited the site, said that due to valve failure coolant from the primary reactor was not able to flow through the correct channels to the waste tanks.
However, he said no workers had been exposed to radioactivity.
"The radiation level was in the range of 1 microsievert per hour, which is four times the normal background level of 0.25 microsievert per hour," Amer said, referring to the standard international measurement of radiation.
In June 2010, a group of IAEA experts stated that certain measures should be taken at the Inshas reactors should they be reactivated.
They also called for changes to the site design and various technical measures, including the development of a better system to transport critical materials and the establishment of an improved monitoring system to detect leaks.
The report said that a number of facilities at the Inshas site were not functioning correctly, pointing to non-functional warning lights in the control room and the partial deterioration of concrete walls behind which nuclear waste is stored.
The report, prepared by an evaluation team sent by the IAEA to inspect the site in February 2010, said that the reactors could be restarted for training purposes or to manufacture nuclear isotopes for peaceful purposes.
By restarting the Inshas reactors, the Egyptian government expects to raise revenues of LE70 million per month by producing radionuclides used for medical treatments.
Official sources speaking to Al-Ahram Weekly said that Egypt had already signed deals with a number of countries, including South Africa, to provide them with such radionuclides.


Clic here to read the story from its source.