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Korean soft loan to fund safety features of nuclear research reactor

By Dana Al Emam - Oct 28,2015 - Last updated at Oct 28,2015

Planning and International Cooperation Minister Imad Fakhoury and Korean Ambassador Choi Hong-ghi sign a loan agreement in Amman on Wednesday (Petra photo)

AMMAN — Jordan and South Korea signed an arrangement and a soft loan agreement worth $12.8 million (around JD9.08 million) on Wednesday to complete the implementation of the Research and Training Reactor Construction Project (JRTR).

The loan will fund necessary additional safety features to the reactor in order to satisfy international standards and to add essential facilities necessary for the operation of the reactor, said Planning and International Cooperation Minister Imad Fakhoury.

The loan agreement completes a previous $70 million (around JD49.6 million) soft loan agreement signed in 2010. The Kingdom is committed to paying the loan over 29 years, with a 10-year grace period and a 0.2 per cent interest rate.

Speaking at the signing of the agreements with Korean Ambassador Choi Hong-ghi and Seong-Hyeog Yim, executive director of the Export-Import Bank of Korea, Fakhoury highlighted the significance of the reactor, located at the Jordan University of Science and Technology.

The reactor is important for establishing nuclear technology infrastructure that could put atomic energy at the forefront of the Kingdom’s energy consumption, he said, adding that the JRTR will be the focal point of the projected Nuclear Science and Technology Centre.

Currently, the Kingdom imports 97 per cent of its energy needs, but it is increasingly investing in alternative energy resources in a bid to reduce dependence on foreign and non-renewable resources.

“This centre will play an important role in educating the upcoming generation of Jordanian nuclear engineers and in building a workforce that can help with the construction and operation of nuclear power plants,” the minister said, underscoring the centre’s potential ability to enhance infrastructure in local industrial, agricultural and medical fields.

Fakhoury commended Korea’s support to Jordan’s development, recognising the country as a key donor to critical sectors that have been under pressure due to the Syrian refugee crisis, including the water sector.

He said that since 1992 Jordan has received seven soft loans from Korea to implement development projects of national priority, noting that four projects funded by Korean loans worth $184.4 million (around JD130.8 million) are currently under implementation.

Korea also provided the Kingdom with grants worth $36.36 million (some JD25.79) between 2004 and 2015, according to the minister.

Jordan Atomic Energy Commission Chairman Khaled Toukan said 94 per cent of the JRTR has been accomplished, and the project is expected to be fully operating by the end of the upcoming summer.

Several testing measures are currently being implemented, he said.

 

The Korean ambassador highlighted his country’s commitment towards providing financial and technical assistance to Jordan in all fields.

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