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Jordan to replace planned nuclear plant with smaller, cheaper facility

Source cites ‘financial burden’ as main drive behind move

By Mohammad Ghazal - May 26,2018 - Last updated at May 26,2018

AMMAN — Jordan on Saturday announced a plan for a small modular nuclear reactor with Russia, replacing the $10 billion nuclear power plant for which an agreement was signed in 2015 between the Jordan Atomic Energy Commission (JAEC) and Russia’s Rosatom Overseas.

“Jordan is now focusing on small modular reactors because the large reactors place financial burden on the Kingdom and in light of the current fiscal conditions we believe it is best to focus on smaller reactors,” a government official, who preferred anonymity, told The Jordan Times on Saturday.

The official said the plan for the $10 billion nuclear plant with Russia that entails building two nuclear reactors with total capacity of 2,000 megawatts is over now and that focus will be on smaller reactors, which are safe, require less financial burden and for which Jordan can attract investors, the official said Saturday.

In 2015, Jordan signed an agreement with Russia’s Rosaton for building a $10 billion nuclear power plant with a total capacity of 2,000 megawatts.

The deal envisages the construction of a two-unit power plant at Amra in the north of the kingdom by 2022.

In a joint statement Saturday, the JAEC and Russia’s Rosatom Overseas announced the signing of an agreement to conduct a joint feasibility study for building a Russian-designed SMR in Jordan.

Building on cooperation and studies performed for a large nuclear power plant, Russia and Jordan have decided to intensify and step up their cooperation in the field of SMRs, Khaled Toukan, chairman of the JAEC, said in the statement.

“We have been cooperating with Rosatom for many years, and we are going to build on this cooperation in various spheres. Today, a potential project to construct SMR-type NPP seems more relevant and more needed, so we would like to focus on it,” Toukan said.

Evgeny Pakermanov, president of JSC Rusatom Overseas said the Russian group and Jordan decided to “focus our cooperation on enhancing SMR technology projects based on Rosatom’s innovative solutions”. 

“The SMR technologies will certainly become one of our top priorities on the way to develop the world energy market”, he said in a statement emailed to the Jordan Times.

“Apart from its modular composition, one of the main advantages of the Russian-design SMR NPP is its ability to be used as a desalination and heating plant”, according to the joint statement, which added that Jordan is looking forward to benefit from all the available technologies in order to strengthen its local dependency on energy.

Russia and Jordan are cooperating closely in the human resource development area, to implement the nuclear programme of the Hashemite Kingdom of Jordan.  Currently, 100 Jordanian students are conducting their Bachelor, Master and other postgraduate studies and programs in major Russian universities, according to Toukan.

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