AMMAN (JT) – Jordan will select the technology for its first nuclear reactor within the next year, a senior official said on Wednesday.

Jordan Atomic Energy Commission (JAEC) Chairman Khaled Toukan said Jordan will select the technology and strategic partner for the Kingdom’s first nuclear power plant within one year, the Jordan News Agency, Petra, reported.

In a statement to Petra, Toukan said the plant will be established through a public-private partnership. Regarding financing, the commission aims to attract a strategic partner to provide part of the capital and contribute to operating the plant, the JAEC chairman explained.

Moreover, studies conducted by Belgian engineering firm Tractabel on the proposed site for the nuclear reactor in Aqaba has indicated that the location is suitable for the establishment of several nuclear power plants, he told Petra.

At the end of the year, the commission will begin the economic feasibility study for uranium mining in the central region, he said.

The JAEC aims to start full-scale uranium extraction within two years of completing the study, Toukan said, stressing the country’s right to nuclear energy for peaceful purposes.

The Jordan French Uranium Mining Company, a joint venture between French mining company AREVA and Jordan Energy Resources Inc., has been operating within a 1,400-square-kilometre concession area in the central region, including the Swaqa, Khan Azzabib, Wadi Maghar and Attarat areas.

Having concluded exploration activities, the firm said it may commence uranium mining as early as 2012 according to various estimates.

The Kingdom is on pace to construct two 1,000-megawatt Generation III reactors in the next 15 years in order to increase the country’s energy independence.

Overall plans call for the establishment of four reactors with the potential to produce over half of the Kingdom’s electricity needs.