AMMAN — Environmentalists and tribal leaders on Monday delivered a petition to South Korea’s embassy in Amman, in which they urged the Korean government to stop the planned construction of a nuclear research reactor in the city of Ramtha.
The petition, which was also signed by hundreds of representatives of professional associations, political parties and parliamentarians, said that its authors “stand firmly against” the building of a nuclear research reactor in their community.
The activists accused Korean companies involved in the planned construction of the plant of jeopardising public safety and disregarding international standards and regulations.
They alleged a number of violations within the Kingdom’s nuclear programme, saying construction had begun on an unlicensed site without carrying out any environmental impact assessment and without public acceptance.
“We are not an anti-nuclear group; we are a community of 100,000 people that chooses to say no to this project, and will do everything possible to stop it…,” the petitioners said in the letter, a copy of which was e-mailed to The Jordan Times.
“We as farmers, merchants, engineers, doctors, professors, students, mothers and fathers who have signed underneath… have the legitimate right to protect our families and community from the hazards of radiation,” said the letter, signed by residents of the northern cities of Ramtha and Sarieh.
Korean Ambassador in Amman Shin Hyun-suk declined to comment on the issue.
A consortium comprising the Korean Atomic Energy Research Institute and Daewoo is scheduled to begin construction in December on a 5-megawatt nuclear research reactor in Ramtha.
To be built at the Jordan University of Science and Technology, the reactor will serve as a training ground for nuclear engineers and physicists who will man the country’s nuclear programme in the future.
In May, deputies approved a recommendation by a parliamentary committee to suspend Jordan’s nuclear programme, invoking hazardous consequences of the energy generating project.
Several deputies insisted that the “hazardous and costly” nuclear programme be suspended, calling on the government to switch to other environment-friendly energy-generating projects such as the solar and wind power.
Jordan Atomic Energy Commission Chairman Khaled Toukan, however, said at the time that the Kingdom’s nuclear programme would be unaffected by a parliamentary motion to halt the project, saying that the project’s activities were in line with lawmakers’ demands.