A nuclear Jordan by 2025? Kingdom seeking funding for first nuclear power plant

A nuclear Jordan by 2025? Kingdom seeking funding for first nuclear power plant
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Published August 21st, 2016 - 10:00 GMT via SyndiGate.info

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Thirty per cent of the $10 billion project will be financed equally by Jordan and Russia. (File photo)
Thirty per cent of the $10 billion project will be financed equally by Jordan and Russia. (File photo)

Jordan’s first nuclear power plant could be operational by 2025, if sufficient financing is secured, the Jordan Atomic Energy Commission (JAEC) said on Thursday. 

“Jordan is currently in talks with German, Czech, Chinese and Japanese companies among others to supply turbines and electrical systems for the power plant and things are going well,” said JAEC Chairman Khaled Toukan.

Thirty per cent of the $10 billion project will be financed equally by Jordan and Russia, who are partners in the project. JAEC is engaged in discussions with companies to secure the remaining 70 per cent to pay for turbines and electrical systems, Toukan said. 

“If we secure finance by the end of 2017, we will be able to operate the first reactor by 2025,” he noted.

Under an agreement with Russia, Jordan plans to build a power plant with two nuclear reactors, each with a capacity of 1,000 megawatts.

Toukan was speaking at a press conference on Thursday to announce the results of a report on the programme by the International Advisory Group (IAG).  

The IAG was formed in November 2015 to provide consultations on the strategy to deal with nuclear waste, and the best options and mechanisms to finance the plant.

The group includes former energy minister Khaled Shraideh and seven international industry experts. 

The head of the IAG, Marouf Bakhit, said Jordan was moving ahead with the project in a transparent way, while following the highest international standards. 

Bakhit said the IAG report was sent to the government and all the concerned authorities to address the group’s recommendations.

“Work on addressing the majority of the recommendations is already under way and the report will be dealt with in a professional manner,” said Bakhit.

The report called for more work to develop human resources and a nuclear culture, “especially in the Jordanian supply and construction industry”.

The IAG indicated that Jordan should consider hiring full-time international experts in the early stages of the programme in key disciplines to provide oversight of critical areas as well as to mentor newly trained Jordanian graduates. 

In addition, expert Jordanian staff must be available to enable Jordan to be an intelligent customer through the nuclear energy development programme, including providing smart oversight of products from consultants, the report said.

On waste, the IAG said while the country’s “strategy for radioactive waste management is considered to be appropriate”, more should be done to firm up the provisions including the scope and funding.

The proposals for a “near-surface repository for low and intermediate waste should be developed further, brought forward and include the specification for the on-site reactor waste processing and packaging”, the IAG said.

Toukan said the Jordan Research and Training Reactor will be launched in November.

“The research reactor will be the first of its kind in the region… This will greatly support Jordan’s efforts in scientific research,” he added.

The IAG commended Jordan for its responsible and balanced approach to its peaceful nuclear power programme.

By Mohammad Ghazal

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