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Jordan, Russia gov’ts to sign nuclear deal before end of month

By Mohammad Ghazal - Mar 21,2015 - Last updated at Mar 21,2015

AMMAN — Jordan and Russia will sign an intergovernmental agreement before the end of this month in which the two sides stress commitment to supporting the country's first nuclear power plant, according to Jordan Atomic Energy Commission (JAEC) Chairman Khaled Toukan.

The agreement, which will be signed in Amman, represents the legal and political framework between the governments of the two countries and highlights their support of the plan, which entails building two nuclear reactors with a total capacity of 2,000 megawatts (MW) and at a total cost of $10 billion.

Under the agreement, Jordan will have the option to return nuclear fuel waste to Russia, said Toukan at a meeting with reporters last week, adding that the age of the reactor is 60 years.

Russia will provide enriched nuclear fuel for the reactors for the first 10 years after which Jordan has the option of whether to buy nuclear fuel from Russia or any other markets as it will seek the "most suitable price", said Toukan.

When signed, the deal will be referred to Lower House for endorsement, said the JAEC chairman.

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.

Toukan said that Jordan is currently in talks with several regional and international investors who showed interest in financing the project and partnering with Jordan. "I expect that we will hear positive news in this respect at the end of this year," said Toukan.

Jordan, which imports 97 per cent of its energy needs annually at a total cost of 20 per cent of the GDP, has become the third Arab state to pursue peaceful nuclear energy, with the United Arab Emirates set to build four reactors with a combined 5,600MW capacity by 2020 and Egypt reaffirming in 2013 its plans to establish a 1,000MW reactor by the end of the decade.  

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