US-based NuScale Power has signed a memorandum of understanding with the Jordan Atomic Energy Commission (JAEC), to evaluate NuScale’s small modular reactor (SMR) for use in Jordan.
NuScale and JAEC will collaborate on a joint feasibility evaluation of NuScale’s SMR. This will help inform JAEC’s decision on moving forward with the project, as part of its plans to deploy nuclear plants in the country.
“NuScale is at the forefront of US SMR technology,” said Khaled Touqan, chairman of JAEC. “We look forward to this collaboration to assess the viability and potential for deployment of NuScale SMR Technology in Jordan.”
JAEC has overseen several key projects in Jordan including the Sub-Critical Assembly, uranium exploration, and the Jordan Research and Training Reactor (JRTR), which was supplied by South Korea.
Jordan's Committee for Nuclear Strategy in 2007 set out a programme for nuclear power to provide 30% of electricity by 2030, plus some for export. Jordan currently relies on imports to meet over 95% of its energy needs. JAEC considered various options including SMRs. In November 2013, JAEC said it would build several small reactors of about 180MWe capacity, but in 2015 selected Russia as the preferred bidder to build a 2000MWe in the Amra region, some 70 kilometres east of Amman.
However, the interest in SMRs continued. In March 2017, an agreement between JAEC and Saudi Arabia's King Abdullah City for Atomic and Renewable Energy was signed for a feasibility study on construction of two SMRs in Jordan. In November 2017, JAEC signed an MOU with Rolls-Royce to conduct a feasibility study for the construction of an SMR and also with X-energy to assess the US company's SMR.
In May 2018, Jordan announced plans to construct a small modular nuclear reactor with Russian assistance, instead of the $10bn two-unit NPP, citing costs.
NuScale has now entered the race with its self-contained 50MWe SMR design. A power plant could include up to 12 modules to produce as much as 720MWe (gross). NuScale’s SMR technology is currently undergoing certification by the US Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC ), and is scheduled to complete its review of NuScale’s design in September 2020.
Photo: Artist's impression of the NuScale SMR design (Photo: NuScale Power)