Cooperation in nuclear energy between Russia and Jordan should begin next month. The two have agreed a bilateral deal.
According to a Gazeta report reproduced on the Rosatom website, the agreement between the agency and the Jordanian Atomic Energy Commission was 'initialed' in the Jordanian capital, Amman, yesterday.
The memorandum of understanding (MoU), which comes before a full civil nuclear cooperation agreement to be signed in Moscow next month, envisages the construction of a nuclear power plant and the use of its power for seawater desalination. Nuclear research and development centres will also be set up with Russian help in Amman.
The move is the latest to come from recent serious interest in nuclear power in the Middle East. In 2007 many countries in the region spoke of the technology, but Jordan and the United Arab Emirates have been the ones to take serious steps towards establishing nuclear power programs.
Jordan has already made cooperation agreements with Canada, South Korea, the USA and the UK, while uranium mining in the country seems to be increasingly likely. France's Areva will explore for uranium in the centre of the desert nation, and Rio Tinto signed an MoU this week towards exploration and possible future uranium mining activities. Atomic Energy of Canada Ltd will study the feasibility of deploying its Candu reactors in the country, also with seawater desalination as a likely application.
In July 2007, King Abdullah II of Jordan described nuclear power as 'smelly' but necessary for the country.