Supporting Jordan

24 February 2021

The European Union has completed a cooperation project to enhance radiation safety and the safe management of radioactive waste in Jordan

JORDAN HAS BEEN FOLLOWING a nuclear power development programme since 2007. One pre-condition for this programme is development of the necessary infrastructure.

The European Commission has been a partner to Jordan and has carried out three projects under the Instrument for Nuclear Safety Cooperation (INSC), to support the country in necessary improvements and to foster advancing its peaceful nuclear programme, meeting the highest standards in the field of nuclear and radiation safety and radioactive waste management.

The latest €1.8 million project carried out by INSC, supported three Jordan institutions, the Energy and Minerals Regulatory Commission (EMRC), the Jordan Atomic Energy Commission (JAEC) and the Ministry of Environment of Jordan (MOENV).

A major part of the project was licensing of the Synchrotron-light for Experimental Science and Applications in the Middle East, or Sesame. Sesame is a ‘third-generation’ synchrotron light source, which was officially inaugurated in Allan in 2017. The region’s first major international centre of excellence, Sesame is a cooperative venture by scientists and governments in the region, set up on the CERN model. As part of the project, senior European experts shared their experience on the technical aspects and the safety features of the Sesame synchrotron, and thus supported the EMRC in the on-going licensing process for the Sesame. Once the review, assessment and inspection activities for the licence application are fulfilled, a permanent operating licence will be granted, which will help to further scientific cooperation in the region.

The EU delegation in Jordan added to EU support to Sesame by providing a 7MW solar system for electricity supply to the Sesame facilities under the EU support programme for green energy in Jordan.

The solar farm, inaugurated in February 2019, makes Sesame as the first synchrotron in the region powered by solar energy.

Since the start of the project in 2017, several support activities have been conducted in Jordan by about 50 senior experts from the EU. The support continued, using online tools, under the adverse conditions posed by the COVID-19 pandemic in 2020. EMRC and JAEC staff were trained and supported through workshops, training courses and on-site support visits.

Spent nuclear fuel and radioactive waste

The legal basis for nuclear and radiation safety in Jordan has also been improved, according to the European Commission.

The first national report for the Joint Convention on the safety of spent fuel management and radioactive waste management was compiled by the Jordanian institution, with assistance from European experts. JAEC and the consortium further developed Jordan’s radioactive waste management strategy and an action plan for its implementation, and defined a way to cope with the radioactive waste stored on the Sewaqa site.

This project was implemented through a contract with a consortium comprising ENCO of Austria, the Hungarian Atomic Energy Agency (HAEA), Netherlands-based NRG and TU¨V Nord of Germany.

The successful completion of the project is the result of cooperation between the partners in Jordan and the consortium. In particular, it was delivered by the motivation of the beneficiaries and end-users and their willingness to enhance their capacities and capabilities in radiation protection in all areas utilisation of ionising radiation, and of radioactive waste management.

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