Jordan’s nuclear reactor to cost $5 billion
13 January 2012
By ABDUL JALIL MUSTAFA - Arabnews - AMMAN: The nuclear reactor that Jordan seeks to build by 2020 will cost about $5 billion, said Chairman of the Jordan Atomic Energy Commission Khalid Toukan on Thursday. Toukan defended the controversial project before the lower house of Parliament, where head of the chamber’s Legal Committee Mahmoud Kharabsheh alleged the venture would cost about $20 billion and overburden the country’s already cash-strapped treasury.
Kharabsheh also questioned the economic feasibility and safety of the project, saying it would jeopardize the country’s environment.
Toukan said that the government so far concluded nuclear cooperation agreements with 12 countries, including Spain, France, Russia and Britain. An effort to conclude a similar agreement with the US has reportedly faltered under Israel’s pressure.
“The third generation nuclear reactor to be built in Jordan is one of the most developed reactors and will be completely safe,” Toukan said.
“Besides, the generation of electricity by using nuclear energy will be economically feasible.”
Toukan also defended assigning the exploration and exploitation of local uranium ores to the French group AREVA, saying the firm is an arm of the French government and can be trusted to do the job.
“Uranium is available in Jordan in commercial quantities” that will feed the projected Jordanian and regional nuclear reactors, he said.
The Belgian engineering consultancy Tractabel is assisting the JAEC to select a site for the country’s reactor, which is due to start operation in 2020.
The Belgian group has chosen Mafraq, 60 km east of Amman, and the Red Sea port of Aqaba as potential sites and planned to release the outcome of its study by the end of January, JAEC officials said.
Three vying firms have been shortlisted to construct the nuclear plant— Atmostroy Export of Russia, AECL of Canada and Japan’s Mitsubishi Heavy Industries. The winning firm may be disclosed in March, they added.