Jordan seeks finance for its first NPP

23 August 2016

Jordan’s first NPP, a two 1,000MWe unit plant to be built by Russian state nuclear corporation Rosatom, could be operational by 2025, if sufficient financing is secured, the Jordan Atomic Energy Commission (JAEC) said on 18 August. “Jordan is currently in talks with German, Czech, Chinese and Japanese companies among others to supply turbines and electrical systems for the power plant and things are going well,” said JAEC Chairman Khaled Toukan. Some 30% of the $10bn project will be financed equally by Jordan and Russia, who are partners in the project. JAEC is engaged in discussions with companies to secure the remaining 70% to pay for turbines and electrical systems, Toukan said. “If we secure finance by the end of 2017, we will be able to operate the first reactor by 2025,” he told a press conference called to announce the results of a report on the programme by the International Advisory Group (IAG). 

IAG was formed in November 2015 to provide consultations on the strategy to deal with nuclear waste, and the best options and mechanisms to finance the plant. The group includes former energy minister Khaled Shraideh and seven international industry experts. IAG head Marouf Bakhi said Jordan was moving ahead with the project in a transparent way, while following the highest international standards. The IAG report was sent to the government and all the concerned authorities to address the group’s recommendations. “Work on addressing the majority of the recommendations is already under way and the report will be dealt with in a professional manner,” said Bakhit.

The report called for more work to develop human resources and a nuclear culture, “especially in the Jordanian supply and construction industry”. IAG suggested that Jordan should consider hiring full-time international experts in the early stages of the programme in key disciplines to provide oversight of critical areas as well as to mentor newly trained Jordanian graduates. In addition, expert Jordanian staff must be available to enable Jordan to be an intelligent customer through the nuclear energy development programme, including providing smart oversight of products from consultants, the report said. IAG commended Jordan for its responsible and balanced approach to its peaceful nuclear power programme.

On waste, the IAG said Jordan’s “strategy for radioactive waste management is considered to be appropriate”, but more should be done to firm up the provisions including the scope and funding. The proposals for a “near-surface repository for low and intermediate waste should be developed further, brought forward and include the specification for the on-site reactor waste processing and packaging”, IAG said.

Toukan said the Jordan Research and Training Reactor (JRTR) will be launched in November. “The research reactor will be the first of its kind in the region… This will greatly support Jordan’s efforts in scientific research,” he added.

The 5MWt reactor, supplied by the Korea Atomic Energy Research Institute (KAERI), is housed in the Jordan University of Science and Technology located in Irbid.  KAERI announced in April that the reactor, which was approved for operation in January was loaded with nuclear fuel. KAERI is planning to assist in the operation of the JRTR until it can be run by Jordanian engineers alone. Then, all the facilities and management rights are handed over to the Jordanian government. A consortium of KAERI and Daewoo Engineering & Construction won the contract to supply the reactor in 2010 and construction began the same year.

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