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Advisory group issues ‘positive’ report on Jordan’s nuclear programme

By Mohammad Ghazal - Jun 14,2016 - Last updated at Jun 14,2016

AMMAN — An international group has commended Jordan for its responsible and balanced approach to its peaceful nuclear power programme. 

A report by the International Advisory Group (IAG) has indicated that the Kingdom has “aggressively engaged with the IAEA in the development of its nuclear programme and has sought and obtained extensive peer reviews and this openness should help to provide Jordan with the capacity to have an effective and responsible regulatory system”. 

The group comprises experts in nuclear power, nuclear safety, nuclear regulation and other nuclear activities. Its job has been to study the situation of the nuclear programme and provide independent advice to His Majesty King Abdullah and the government on the Jordan Nuclear Energy Programme.

Chaired by former premier Marouf Bakhit, 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 nuclear power plant. It includes as members former energy minister Khaled Shraideh and seven world-renowned international experts in the industry.

In its report, a copy of which was sent to The Jordan Times on Monday, the IAG said Jordan is commendable for “carefully analysing its energy situation and its options, and embarking on a well-planned path to acquire nuclear energy”, stressing that the country’s commitment to international conventions, treaties and standards is a “very welcome foundation for the Jordanian nuclear programme”.

“Jordan has a solid foundation, founded on a clear vision, for developing the culture and human resources needed for a successful nuclear programme”, the panel said in the report.

In its report, the IAG said mining, power plant operation and waste disposal as foreseen in the Jordanian programme will follow strict present-day international protection standards and do not pose undue environmental or health risks. 

“Radiation exposures of the Jordanian population are dominated by natural and medical exposures, but will not be markedly increased by the proposed nuclear programme,” said the IAG.

The report urged more work to extend the development of human resources and a nuclear culture, “especially into the Jordanian supply and construction industry”.

The IAG indicated that Jordan should evaluate the need for 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 intelligent oversight of products from consultants. 

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

Besides, 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.


Jordan, which imports about 97 per cent of its energy annually, plans to build two nuclear reactors by 2025 with a total capacity of 1,000 megawatts each and tap its uranium reserves. 

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