Egypt's president announces plans to build several nuclear power plants

Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak on Monday announced plans to build several nuclear power plants, joining several Middle East Arab countries that recently have said they are kick starting their nuclear energy ambitions. Mubarak said in a speech broadcast live on national television that the decision to build the nuclear power stations was to diversify Egypt's energy resources and preserve the country's oil and gas reserves for coming generations. "I announce before you Egypt's position to prepare the program for building several nuclear power stations. We believe that energy security is a major part of building the future for this country and an integral part of Egypt's national security system," Mubarak said at a ceremony inaugurating the second phase of construction of an electrical power plant north of Cairo. Mubarak said he would issue a decree in the coming days to re-establish the Supreme Council for the Peaceful Purposes of Nuclear Power, which would be in charge of the nuclear program. He also said Egypt would seek the help of its "international partners" and the U.N. nuclear watchdog, the International Atomic Energy Agency, in building the nuclear power plants.