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Advisory group of int’l experts to review Jordan’s nuclear project

By Mohammad Ghazal - Nov 04,2015 - Last updated at Nov 04,2015

AMMAN — The government on Wednesday approved the formation of the International Advisory Group (IAG), which will be tasked with reviewing Jordan’s progress in implementing its nuclear programme.

The group is chaired by former prime minister Marouf Bakhit, while its members include former energy minister Khaled Shraideh and seven world-renowned international experts in this field, Jordan Atomic Energy Commission (JAEC) Chairman Khaled Toukan told The Jordan Times.

“The group will provide consultations on Jordan’s strategy to deal with nuclear waste, and the best options and mechanisms to finance the nuclear power plant,” Toukan said.

The IAG will also provide consultations in the field of non-proliferation of nuclear weapons and nuclear security, and raise awareness among the public to rally support for the project, he added.

Members will also provide an objective assessment of Jordan’s choice of the technology used in the nuclear reactors, the former minister noted.

The members will assess the readiness and competence of graduates of the Jordan University of Science and Technology’s nuclear engineering department and compare it with other departments at international universities and centres to gauge their readiness to shoulder responsibilities in the national nuclear programme.

The IAG will also prepare an annual report on Jordan’s achievements in the nuclear programme and submit it to the prime minister, according to Toukan. 

In addition, it will work on enhancing communication with the IAEA and national and international organisations in the field of atomic energy, he noted.

Also on Wednesday, the government announced the formation of the Jordan Nuclear Power Company’s board of directors that comprises stakeholders in the nuclear power plants project and representatives of local communities.

Chaired by Senate President and former prime minister Faisal Fayez, the board members are the JAEC chairman; the King Abdullah II Design and Development Bureau (KADDB) director general; director general of As Samra Electric Power Company; and secretaries general of the energy, finance and water ministries.

In addition, Mijhem Hadith Khreisha and Mohammad Barakat Al Zuheir will represent the local community on the board.

In October 2013, Jordan contracted Russia’s Rosatom to build the country’s first two nuclear reactors that are expected to be operational by 2022.

Under the deal, Rosatom has agreed to take on 49 per cent of the plants’ $10 billion construction and operation costs on a build-own-operate basis, with the government shouldering the remaining 51 per cent and retaining a majority share in the plants.

IAG members

•   Marouf Bakhit — former prime minister 

•   Khaled Shraideh — former energy minister 

•   Lady Barbara Judge — former chairperson of the UK Atomic Energy Authority

•   Rolf Huer — director general of the European Organisation for Nuclear Research (CERN))

•   Mike Weightman — former chief inspector of nuclear installations in the UK and executive
     head of ONR

•   Werner Burkart — former deputy director general of the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA)

•   Peter B. Lyons — former assistant secretary at the US department of energy’s office of
     nuclear energy

•   Akira Omoto — former commissioner of the Japan Atomic Energy Commission

•   Richard Meserve — president emeritus at Carnegie Institution for Science

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