CAIRO, Jan. 18 (UPI) -- Egypt's Nuclear Materials Authority says the discovery of huge amounts of uranium ore could help improve the country's flagging economy.
The uranium has been discovered in high concentrations in five areas in Egypt, authority head Mohsen Ali Mohamadeen told the English language website Egypt Independent.
"Because uranium is considered an important strategic raw material, the plan is to use it mainly as fuel for energy production," he said.
Uranium extraction could help develop many national industries, Mohamadeen said.
He acknowledged there are concerns about environmental and health dangers but he said the public should not be worried.
"Everything has its advantages and inconveniences. Uranium is a radioactive material, but by following preventive procedures, such as using it under a shield of lead, it becomes completely safe," he said.
The nuclear authority said it intends to seek bids from international companies because foreign expertise is needed for the complex processes of excavating and extracting uranium.
"In my opinion, it's very important to have a cooperative program for exchanging experiences through mutual delegations between the different countries," Mohamadeen said.