AMMAN — Jordan will sign an agreement with Russia in September to start conducting studies on the country’s first nuclear reactor for power generation, Khaled Toukan, chairman of the Jordan Atomic Energy Commission, said Thursday.

“The Cabinet approved signing a project development agreement with Russia and we will sign the deal with the Russian partners in Moscow in September,” Toukan told reporters following a meeting with experts from the International Atomic Energy Agency.

The agreement opens the door for starting studies on the project, including an environmental impact assessment, cooling the reactor, financing for the venture, the cost of building the reactor and the cost of electricity it generates, he said.

The governments of the two countries will sign an agreement before the end of this year to show commitment to the implementation of the project, Toukan added.

The studies, which will cost some JD46 million, will be financed by Jordan and completed in two years.

In October 2013, Jordan announced that it has selected Russia to build the country’s first two nuclear reactors in a bid to produce atomic energy within the next decade.

The government selected Russian state-owned firm Rosatom as its preferred vendor to construct two 1,000-megawatt (MW) nuclear power plants east of Amman by 2022.

Under the deal, Rosatom has agreed to take on 49 per cent of the plants’ $10 billion construction and operation costs on a build-own-operate basis, with the government shouldering the remaining 51 per cent and retaining a majority share in the plants.

Jordan has become the third Arab state to pursue peaceful nuclear energy, with the United Arab Emirates set to build four reactors with a combined 5,600MW capacity by 2020 and Egypt reaffirming in 2013 its plans to establish a 1,000MW reactor by the end of the decade.—-toukan