Jordan shortlists reactor designs

13 May 2010

The Jordan Atomic Energy Commission (JAEC) has drawn up a shortlist of three preferred bidders to supply reactors for the country's first nuclear power plant.


Jordan received a total of seven offers from reactor vendors who completed a technology questionnaire sent to them by the JAEC earlier this year. The JAEC said that the responses have been technically and economically evaluated by itself and its consultant Worley Parsons using an evaluation procedure agreed upon early in March, before any of the responses from the vendors had been received.


The JAEC said that, "concluding a series of careful studies and evaluation procedures," it had selected three vendors as preferred bidders and invited them to participate in further discussions to select the best technology for the plant.


The three reactor designs that JAEC has selected are: Atomic Energy of Canada Ltd's (AECL's) Enhanced Candu-6 pressurized heavy water reactor (PHWR); AtomStroyExport's AES-92 model of its VVER-1000; and the Atmea-1 pressurized water reactor (PWR) design proposed by a joint venture between Areva and Mitsubishi Heavy Industries (MHI).


JAEC and Worley Parsons will "engage the top three vendors in the coming months to conduct further technical and economic evaluation." According to the project's schedule, the competitive dialogue process will start in June and is set to be completed within one year when the optimal technology will be selected.


According to Kamal Araj, project manager and JAEC's commissioner for international cooperation, the next discussions with the preferred vendors will focus on the specifics of the technology to be provided. Later discussions will emphasize on the financing and organization support that the vendor will provide for future operation of the plant. At that point, he said, JAEC will choose one vendor with whom to negotiate a final contract for the design and construction of the plant.


JAEC chairman Khaled Toukan commented: "The selection ends months of careful and thorough analysis and evaluation, but opens the way for more months of hard work to choose the most suitable reactor technology for the Kingdom's first nuclear power plant."


Last month, Toukan told a workshop on nuclear plant financing that geological and site studies, carried out by Tractebel Engineering of Belgium, have shown that a "number of locations" in southern Jordan are suitable for a nuclear reactor.


Jordan is set to get its first research reactor by 2014 under a contract signed by JAEC and a consortium headed by the Korean Atomic Energy Research Institute with Daewoo in December 2009.


Jordan is poor in terms of both energy and water resources. It currently imports some 95% of its energy requirements. 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.


Atmea progress


The inclusion of the Atmea-1 in the Jordanian shortlist could result in the first contract for such a reactor. In 2007, Areva and MHI set up Atmea, a 50-50 joint venture, to develop, market, license and sell an 1100 MWe PWR combining both companies' technologies. Areva told World Nuclear News that the basic design of Atmea-1 has now been completed and the reactor is therefore ready to market.


The Atmea-1 conceptual design was successfully reviewed by the International Atomic Energy Agency in 2008. Areva said that it is planning to set up a review of Atmea-1 safety features by the French Nuclear Safety Authority (Autorité De Sûreté Nucléaire, ASN) this year. This review, Areva said, will provide strong visibility regarding the "licensability" of the design.


Researched and written

by World Nuclear News