Jordan and Saudi Arabia team up on uranium, SMRs

29 March 2017

Jordan and Saudi Arabia have signed agreements on cooperation in uranium exploration and carrying out a feasibility study into the construction of two small modular reactors (SMRs) in Jordan.

Jordan-Saudi Arabia - March 2017 - 460 (KA-CARE)
Yamani and Touqan sign the agreement on the SMR feasibility study (Image: KA-CARE)

The agreements were among 15 major investment and economic agreements signed in Amman on 27 March following a meeting between Saudi Arabia's King Salman and King Abdullah II of Jordan.

In a statement, Saudi Arabia's King Abdullah City for Atomic and Renewable Energy (KA-CARE) said an agreement had been signed between the two countries covering the exploration and mining of uranium in central Jordan.

A memorandum of understanding (MOU) was also signed by KA-CARE president Hashim Yamani and Khaled Touqan, head of the Jordan Atomic Energy Commission (JAEC). Under that MOU a feasibility study will be conducted on the construction of two small modular reactors in Jordan for the production of electricity and desalinated water.

Saudi Arabia and Jordan signed a nuclear cooperation agreement in January 2014. The main focus of that agreement was on basic and applied research related to nuclear energy and technologies, design, construction and operation, power plants and nuclear reactors. Also included was cooperation in research and exploration for "raw materials", plus radioactive waste management.

Although Saudi Arabia's nuclear program is in its infancy, the Kingdom has plans to construct 16 nuclear power reactors over the next 20 years. A 2010 royal decree identified nuclear power as essential to help meet growing energy demand for both electricity generation and water desalination, while reducing reliance on depleting hydrocarbon resources.

In September 2015, contracts were signed between KA-CARE and the Korea Atomic Energy Research Institute (KAERI) to support their cooperation in developing KAERI's SMART (System-integrated Modular Advanced Reactor). This is a 330 MWt (100 MWe) pressurised water reactor with integral steam generators and advanced safety features.

Earlier this month, China and Saudi Arabia signed a cooperation agreement for a joint study on the feasibility of constructing high-temperature gas-cooled reactors (HTGRs) in the Middle Eastern country.

In March 2015, Russia and Jordan signed an intergovernmental agreement on cooperation in the construction and operation of two 1000 MWe VVER units at Az-Zarqa in central Jordan. A feasibility on the construction of those units is expected to be completed within the next few months.

Researched and written
by World Nuclear News