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Report says area selected for reactor ‘suitable’

By Mohammad Ghazal - Jun 27,2018 - Last updated at Jun 27,2018

AMMAN — Jordan Atomic Energy Commission (JAEC) received a preliminary report from the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) indicating that Qusayr Amra region near Azraq, some 60km east of Amman, is suitable for building nuclear reactors, according to the agency’s Chairman Khaled Toukan.

Necessary studies were conducted on the site by Belgium’s Tractebel, Korea Electric Power Corporation and Worley Parsons, with findings showing the suitability of the location for the facilities, he said at a press conference this week.

“All studies have showed that there are no impediments at all in the site,” he said, citing the report, which had been sent to the IAEA by the testing companies.

“We have received an initial site-suitability report from the agency approving the location, and we expect to receive the final report within six months,” said Toukan.

Toukan explained a change of policy, renewing a recent announcement that Jordan is planning to focus on small modular nuclear reactors during the upcoming period. He said feasibility studies are being conducted jointly by the JAEC, the King Abdullah City for Atomic and Renewable Energy of Saudi Arabia and the Korea Atomic Energy Research Institute to build two nuclear reactors in Jordan at a total capacity of 220 megawatts.

The two system-integrated modular advanced reactors (SMART) will cost around $800 million, Toukan noted, adding that the project will be financed by the three sides involved and that Jordan has received pledges of support for the reactors.

Toukan added that Jordan would continue talks with the China    National Nuclear Corporation during this year on building nuclear reactors in the Kingdom.

In April, the JAEC chief said Jordan was in serious and advanced talks with China National Nuclear Corporation (CNNC) to build a 220 megawatt high temperature gas-cooled reactor (HTR) in the Kingdom.

An agreement for building the almost $1 billion helium gas-cooled reactor, a fourth generation reactor, is expected to be signed in 2019 between the two sides.

In early June, the JAEC said it scrapped a $10 billion deal with Russia to build the country’s first nuclear power plant at a capacity of 2,000 megawatts, as the Russians requested securing the necessary funds for the project via commercial loans.

On uranium reserves in Jordan, Toukan said the Kingdom’s central region is home to 40,000 metric tonnes of uranium, which has enough yellow cake to supply Jordan’s nuclear programme for more than 100 years. The volume is expected to increase as promising excavations are under way in several areas.

“We expect to start producing tens of kilos of yellow cake by the end of this year,” said Toukan.

Toukan stressed that Jordan boasts qualified human resources needed in the field, adding that training of Jordanian experts and students in this regard is ongoing.

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