Japan agrees to Middle Eastern cooperation

09 September 2010

Japan has increased its cooperation in the peaceful uses of nuclear energy with Middle Eastern countries with the signing of cooperation agreements with Jordan and Kuwait. 


Japan's deal with Jordan covers such areas as uranium exploration and mining; the design, construction and operation of reactors; nuclear safety and security; radioactive waste management; radiation protection and environmental monitoring; and studies on and application of radioisotopes and radiation.


The agreement was signed in Amman by Khaled Toukan, chairman of the Jordan Atomic Energy Commission (JAEC), and Kiyoshi Asako, Japan's deputy ambassador to Jordan. The agreement followed the signing of a memorandum of cooperation in April 2009.


Commenting on the signing of the agreement, Asako said, "This agreement will contribute to a framework for cooperation in the field of nuclear energy between Japan and Jordan for along period of time and in stability, enabling Japan to transfer nuclear materials, nuclear-related materials and technology to Jordan after its conclusion."


Toukan said that Jordan's key goal is to "seek highly safe nuclear reactors and fuel cycles based on Generation III nuclear power plants, but with proven technology in compliance with the highest international standards of safety and security."


Japan is the ninth country to have signed a nuclear cooperation agreement with Jordan following the signing of such accords with France, China, South Korea, Canada, Russia, the UK, Argentina and Spain.


Toukan said that Jordan is expanding its contacts and relations with advanced countries in this field, including the USA, with which he hoped a similar agreement would be signed in coming months.


The Atmea-1 pressurized water reactor (PWR) design proposed by a joint venture between France's Areva and Japan's Mitsubishi Heavy Industries (MHI) was one of three reactor designs shortlisted by Jordan earlier this year. The other two designs are Atomic Energy of Canada Ltd's (AECL's) Enhanced Candu-6 pressurized heavy water reactor (PHWR) and AtomStroyExport's AES-92 model of its VVER-1000.


Jordan's plans foresee a nuclear power plant for electricity and desalination in operation by 2015, and the country's Committee for Nuclear Strategy has set out a program for nuclear power to provide 30% of electricity by 2030 or 2040, and to provide for exports.


Kuwaiti ambitions 


Meanwhile, Kuwait has signed a memorandum of cooperation in the peaceful use of nuclear energy with Japan, its third such international nuclear cooperation agreement.


The bilateral agreement was signed by the secretary general of the Kuwait National Nuclear Energy Committee (KNNEC) Ahmad Bishara and the director general of Japan's Agency for Natural Resources and Energy Katsuhiro Hosoi in a Tokyo ceremony in the presence of the two countries' ambassadors.


The five-year agreement, which can be extended, includes cooperation in the preparation, planning and promotion of nuclear power development while promoting internationally recognized nuclear non-proliferation, safety and security standards. The wide-ranging agreement also covers issues such as information exchange, human resource development, infrastructure development and public information work.


Kuwait already has cooperation agreements in place with the USA and France, and according to Kuwait's official state news agency KUNA intends to sign a similar agreement with Russia later this month and one with South Korea within a few months.


The country currently generates most of its energy from oil, but is considering its own nuclear program for power and water.


Kuwait will publish a roadmap for developing nuclear power as early as January 2011, Bishara told Bloomberg. The roadmap will include a timetable for bidding for contracts and potential locations of nuclear power plants. He noted that Kuwait is considering building up to four 1000 MWe reactors.


Electricity demand in Kuwait will increase by as much as 7% annually, from the current 11 gigawatts to some 25 GW by 2030, according to Bishara. He said the country burns some 300,000 barrels per day of oil products (or 12% of production) to meet demand for thermal power. This is projected to up to 20% of oil production by 2025.


Bishara said, "Our initial analysis indicates that nuclear is viable as long as oil is above $45 to $50 a barrel."


Researched and written

by World Nuclear News