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'Nuclear commission preparing for two agreements with Russian reactor vendor'

By Mohammad Ghazal - Mar 10,2014 - Last updated at Mar 10,2014

AMMAN — The Jordan Atomic Energy Commission (JAEC) has completed eight rounds of talks with Russia's Rosatom to sign two agreements that will pave the way for the establishment of the country's first nuclear reactor, according to its chairman. 

The commission still has two more issues to be discussed with the Russian side before the two agreements are signed, JAEC Chairman Khaled Toukan said on Monday.

One agreement will be between the governments of the two countries, while the second will be a project development agreement that specifies the details of the project, including its financing and other related issues, Toukan said on a talk show aired by Jordan Television Sunday evening.

Jordan recently selected Russia's Rosatom as the preferred vendor to construct twin 1,000-megawatt (MW) reactors by 2021.

The value of the Engineering Procurement Construction (EPC) Contract for the two 1,000MW power plants will be $10 billion. The Kingdom will cover 50.1 per cent of the EPC contract, while Rosatom will cover 49.9 per cent as investor and operator of the nuclear plants.

During the talk show, which also hosted Jamal Gammoh, head of the Lower House's Energy Committee, Toukan stressed the importance of the nuclear project for the Kingdom, which imports about 96 per cent of its energy needs. 

But Gammoh said there was no need for the country to resort to nuclear energy for power generation.

"Jordan has plans for mega-projects in the fields of oil shale and renewable energy to generate power. The nuclear reactor will come with risks and we do not need such risks as the planned renewable energy projects will cover the country's needs," the deputy said.

Referring to Jordan's uranium reserves, Toukan said the results of a feasibility study conducted by world-renowned geostatistics centres and experts will be announced within two months.

"Initial results indicate that uranium is available in commercial quantities in Jordan," he noted.

"I am hopeful that the studies will show that there are more than 40,000 metric tonnes of uranium in the rocks in Jordan," Toukan said.

In 2012, the government terminated a contract with Areva that conducted feasibility studies on the quantities of uranium in the country.

Areva said there were about 28,000 metric tonnes of uranium in Jordan, Toukan said, adding that the government terminated the contract because Areva's figures were not accurate.

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