Egypt: Nuke program only for peaceful purposes

Foreign Ministry spokesman calls media reports on nuclear inspectors finding traces of weapons-grade uranium "mistaken and outdated."

By BRENDA GAZZAR, AP, CAIRO
May 7, 2009 22:41
Egypt: Nuke program only for peaceful purposes

mubarak 248 88 ap. (photo credit: AP [file])

 
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Egyptian officials reiterated on Thursday that the country's nuclear activities are of a "peaceful nature," a day after it was reported that UN nuclear inspectors found traces of weapons-grade uranium in Egypt last year and in 2007. Egyptian Foreign Ministry spokesman Hossam Zaki called the media reports "mistaken and outdated." "The issue dates back to 2007 and the International Atomic Energy Agency always confirms in its reports that Egyptian nuclear activities are of a peaceful nature and that there are no pending issues related to Egyptian cooperation with the IAEA," he said in an statement. The IAEA report on the matter, obtained by The Associated Press on Wednesday, said Cairo believed the particles could have come into the country on containers with radioisotopes but that the IAEA was continuing its investigations because "it has not yet identified the source of the uranium particles." Both high- (weapons-grade) and low-enriched uranium can be used to make radioisotopes, which are used in medicine and scientific research. The report said traces of low-enriched uranium were found at the same site - Inshas, northeast of Cairo, where Egypt's two small research reactors are located.

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