Egypt is on track to harness the energy of nuclear power.
On Monday, Egyptian President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi announced that his country had finalized an agreement with Russia to build a nuclear power plant in Dabaa, about 130 kilometers northwest of Cairo along the Mediterranean coast.
Sisi has also invited Russian President Vladimir Putin to Egypt to attend the launch of construction at the site, according to Asharq Al-Awsat.
Egypt aims to become an energy exporter
Negotiations for the project have been ongoing for two years. In May of last year, Russia revealed that it would lend Egypt $25 billion to build the nuclear power plant, Reuters reported. The two countries first agreed to start the project back in November of 2015.
The finalized nuclear plan also comes as Egypt has just signed multi-million dollar deals for further oil exploration in its territory. The country also aims to dramatically increase its output of natural gas. Both moves are seen as a bid to become a major exporter of oil and gas over the next few years.
Harnessing nuclear power will also offset the countries' use of fossil fuels, freeing up more to be exported internationally.
Other Arab countries' nuclear ambitions
Among Arab countries, Egypt is definitely not alone in its nuclear ambitions.
Saudi Arabia's cabinet of ministers officially approved the establishment of a national program for atomic energy in July. The kingdom aims to build 16 nuclear power plants over the next 25 years at a cost of $80 billion.
By 2040, nuclear power will produce 17 GWe of power, equaling 15 percent of the nation's projected needs.
In January, the UAE announced that construction on its first nuclear power plant would be completed this year. However, in May, the nation announced that while the plant had been completed, it would not become operational until next year.