Jordan research reactor complete

12 December 2016

The International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) has completed a safety assessment of Jordan's first nuclear reactor ahead of its routine operation. The Jordan Research and Training Reactor (JRTR) has finished its test run and been declared complete by its Korean constructors.

The IAEA peer review team in discussion with Jordanian experts during the INSARR mission (Image: Jordan Atomic Energy Commission)

The Integrated Nuclear Safety Assessment of Research Reactors (INSARR) mission was conducted at JRTR between 4 and 8 December by an international team of nuclear safety experts from the Vienna-based agency and five countries that operate research reactors. The IAEA conducted the mission, at Jordan's request, to assess and evaluate the reactor's safety on the basis of IAEA safety standards.

INSARR team leader Amgad Shokr said the IAEA team peer reviewed the JRTR safety programs, focusing on the commissioning results and preparations for the reactor operation phase. "The team provided JAEC with recommendations and suggestions for operational safety improvements, including in the areas of operation management, staff training and qualification, reactor maintenance, and operational radiation protection," Shokr said.

Greg Rzentkowski, director of the IAEA's Division of Nuclear Installation Safety, commended Jordan for the progress it had made in introducing a nuclear research program. "It has to be recognized that the transition from the construction to the operation phase of a nuclear facility is never simple. Thus, work has to continue to implement a management system to demonstrate that the operating organization is qualified, and to confirm adequate safety measures are being implemented," he said.

Reactor complete

The 5 MWt JRTR is being built for the Jordan Atomic Energy Commission (JAEC) by a consortium headed by the Korean Atomic Energy Research Institute with Daewoo at the Jordan University for Science and Technology. Construction of the reactor began in 2010, and Korea's Ministry of Science, ICT and Future Planning declared it complete on 7 December.

The reactor will be used for research and development, education and training and to produce medical and industrial radioisotopes. As well as being Jordan's first nuclear reactor, JRTR is the first nuclear reactor exported by Korea. Korean-designed power reactors are also under construction at Barakah in the United Arab Emirates.

The reactor was formally inaugurated by Prime Minister Hani al-Mulki, on behalf of King Abdullah II, at a ceremony attended by Korean science minister Choi Yang-hee. Choi said the country would "proactively support" the reactor's operation and would also "partner with Jordan for the country's introduction of nuclear power reactors and technological development".

In March 2015, Russia and Jordan signed an intergovernmental agreement on cooperation in the construction and operation of two 1000 MWe VVER units in central Jordan. In September, Sergey Kirienko, then director-general of the Russian state nuclear corporation Rosatom said a feasibility study on the project would be carried out early next year.

Researched and written
by World Nuclear News