By Taylor Luck

AMMAN – The Kingdom’s peaceful nuclear programme took centre stage as an example of regional development energy at the Middle East Nuclear Energy Summit on Monday.

In his address at the opening of the three-day conference yesterday, Jordan Atomic Energy Commission (JAEC) Chairman Khaled Toukan said Jordan will become an electricity exporter by 2030 through nuclear energy.

He highlighted that the Kingdom’s uranium resources, estimated at 70,000 metric tonnes in the central region alone, will help defray the investment cost in establishing the Kingdom’s first nuclear power plant.

He stressed that Jordan is approaching a nuclear cooperation agreement with Romania, adding that talks are under way for similar agreements with the US and Japan.

Jordan has previously signed nuclear cooperation agreements with Canada, China, Russia, UK, South Korea, Argentina and Spain.

Meanwhile, AREVA Vice President Henri Zaccai highlighted the French firm’s ongoing activities in the Kingdom.

He highlighted AREVA solutions for Jordan’s nuclear fuel cycle, including treating and recycling spent fuel in France and sending the materials back to Jordan for storage and disposal.

Zaccai also highlighted the 1,000 megawatt ATMEA1, a combination of French-Japanese technology to construct a mid-sized water pressurised generation III+ reactor as a potential technology for the Kingdom’s first nuclear reactor.

In a separate panel, yesterday, Jordan Nuclear Regulatory Commission Director General Jamal Sharaf underlined the regulatory body’s efforts to draft regulations in line with IAEA standards to govern the nuclear field – including environment, transportation and handling of radioactive materials.

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.

Jordan is expected to select the technology for its first nuclear reactor within the next year.

The conference, which includes workshops on various subjects relating to nuclear energy, is being attended by experts, nuclear technology suppliers and contractors as well as energy officials from the region and across the world.