Jordan Plans First Nuclear Plant to Ease Water Shortages
27 Jun 2012 - 00:00 by OOSKAnews Correspondent
AMMAN, Jordan — The Jordanian Nuclear Agency is currently holding talks with foreign companies to identify the technology that will be used in the kingdom’s first nuclear plant, according to agency chief Khaled Toqan.
“The agency is currently negotiating with a French-Japanese consortium and a Russian company to hammer out the best technology to be employed in the plant,” Toqan said late last week.
“The agency will choose one of the companies by the end of this year to implement the project,” after which it will “try to find a strategic partner to fund the construction of the project to which the government will contribute 30 percent,” he added.
Russia’s Atom Story Export and a consortium of France’s Areva and Japan-based Mitsubishi Corp. qualified for the project back in April.
Jordan wants to use nuclear technology to help ease its current and future water shortages. The proposed nuclear plant will provide around 900 megawatts to pump water from the Red Sea to the Dead Sea and to desalinate 800 million cubic meters of water annually and pump it to Amman.
Jordan is ranked among the five poorest countries in the world with regard to water resources. It suffers from an annual water shortage of 500 million cubic meters, according to official estimates.
By 2020, existing water resources would meet only one-third of country’s needs, said Toqan.
The Jordanian nuclear agency is conducting a nationwide survey to identify the best place to build the plant.
Officials say this could be in al Khirba al Samra, 47 kilometers northeast of the capital, Amman.
Meanwhile, the Jordanian government is intensifying its efforts to win financial support for the project from Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) countries.
Jordanian officials are expected to put the nuclear plant project at the top of their list of priorities when seeking funding from the Gulf Development Fund, launched by GCC countries in 2011.
GCC members recently pledged $5 billion USD to fund investment projects in Jordan.