by Taylor Luck | Apr 29,2012 | 22:44

AMMAN — Jordan has entered negotiations with French and Russian firms for the construction of the country’s first nuclear reactor, an energy official announced on Sunday.

Amman is going ahead with parallel talks with Russian state-owned Atomstroy export and a consortium comprising the French firm AREVA and Japan’s Mitsubishi Heavy Industries for the construction of up to two 1,100-megawatt reactors, according to Jordan Atomic Energy Commission (JAEC) Chairman Khaled Toukan.

The JAEC was originally slated to select the final preferred vendor this month, but moved to extend the process due to the “competitiveness” of the two bids.

“We had wanted to settle on the final vendor, but due to the attractiveness of both bids, we decided to extend the review of both,” Toukan told The Jordan Times.

The JAEC, he said, has been unable to decide between the two options due to the similar safety features of the two Generation III technologies, technology transfer opportunities, proposed coolant solutions and ability to adapt to the country’s preferred site near Mafraq, some 40 kilometres northeast of the capital.

According to Toukan, the JAEC will enter a nine-month negotiation period with the two firms before selecting the final vendor based on its financial offer and quoted electricity rates.

Last year, the JAEC narrowed a list of potential vendors to three shortlisted firms: Atomstroy export, the French-Japanese consortium and Canada’s AECL.

AREVA is also currently carrying out exploration on uranium reserves in the central region — seen as a potential fuel source for the country’s nuclear programme — with initial results indicating the presence of up to 20,000 metric tonnes.

Should extraction prove feasible, the firm is scheduled to commence uranium mining as early as 2015.

Energy officials have identified nuclear power as key to weaning the country off energy imports, which cost the Kingdom some one-fifth of its gross domestic product annually.

Environmentalists and other activists oppose Jordan’s nuclear drive, claiming that potential financial, environmental and health costs outweigh the need to secure the country’s energy independence.

Jordan weighs two offers to build nuclear plant – Al Arabiya

Sunday, 29 April 2012


Energy-poor Jordan said on Sunday a Russian firm and a French-Japanese consortium are to compete to build the kingdom’s first nuclear plant.

“Following a thorough examination, the offers provided by Russia’s Atomstroyexport and a consortium by France’s Areva and Japan’s Mitsubishi were the best proposals that meet Jordan’s requirements,” Atomic Energy Commission said in a statement.

“Talks with these companies will continue to address some technical issues, including the exact location of the plant,” it added, according to state-run Petra news agency.

“The evaluation took into account the highest safety requirements, including lessons from the Fukushima event,” it said.

The Fukushima plant, 220 kilometers (135 miles) northeast of Tokyo, was crippled by meltdowns and explosions caused by Japan’s 9.0 magnitude earthquake and tsunami in March 2011.

Concerns in Jordan have grown since the Japanese disaster, but the kingdom says it needs nuclear technology to meet growing energy demands and to desalinate water.

Jordan, which imports 95 percent of its energy needs, is one of the five driest countries in the world.

It has expressed concerns that cut-offs in unstable Egyptian gas supplies, which normally covers 80 percent of Jordan electricity production, could cost Amman more than $2 billion this year.

Since 2011, the pipeline supplying gas from Egypt to both Israel and the kingdom has been attacked 14 times.

A Jordanian official said Saturday that Cairo has informed Amman it would “resume gas deliveries of 100 million cubic meters per day to the kingdom early next month.”