'Don't worry about it!': Egyptians mock local nuclear plant plans in wake of Russian blast

'Don't worry about it!': Egyptians mock local nuclear plant plans in wake of Russian blast
3 min read
13 August, 2019
Egyptians have taken to social media to ridicule a planned Russian-manufactured nuclear plant in northern Egypt after a nuclear explosion in Russia killed five scientists.
The Russian explosion killed at least five scientists [Twitter]

Egyptians have taken to social media to mock plans for a Russian-led nuclear project in their country after a mysterious, deadly explosion at a Russian nuclear site last week.

The country's own homegrown nuclear project has been underworks since 2015, when Cairo signed an agreement with Moscow under which Russia will build and finance the power plant plant in El Dabaa, a northern coastal city.

The $28.75 billion project, scheduled to be completed in seven years time, is now being ridiculed by Egyptians on social media after a mysterious blast at a Russian nuclear site killed at least five people.

While Moscow initially denied reports that the massive explosion was connected to nuclear testing, it admitted on Monday the explosion had been linked to nuclear activity - likely the development of an experimental nuclear-powered cruise missile, according to Western analysts. 

Social media is now flooded with messages from Egyptians questioning whether President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi should trust Moscow to develop Cairo's nuclear power capacity - especially as the Russian blast reportedly left radiation levels in the northern city of Severodvinsk 20 times above the norm.

"Imagine, you're an Egyptian citizen, and Rosatam [Russia's state nuclear agency], the company that caused a nuclear disaster just a few days ago, is the same company that will build a reactor in El Dabaa," one activist warned.

Activist Khaled al-Sarti said: "An explosion at a nuclear reactor in Russia built by the same company that will build the reactor in El Dabaa… but don't worry about it! The Armed Forces Engineering Authority will supervise it."

For many, though, signs that Egypt should not have enlisted Russia's help were obvious long ago, pointing out that the world's worst nuclear disaster - Chernobyl - had happened under Russian, or Soviet, watch.

"The end is coming at the hands of Russia and the Engineering Authority," some activists said.

One activist wrote: "Let's spread the news that it is Russia who will build the reactor in El Dabaa. Unfortunately they have a very bad history of radiation accidents over the past thirty years."

Others eschewed articulating political statements and instead stuck to memes.

"When you learn that another nuclear disaster has happened in Russia and that's the country that's building you the El Dabaa nuclear plant"

"This is the Russia that's building us El Dabaa?"

"When you find out Russia, which is building the El Dabaa nuclear plant for us, has had a second nuclear explosion"