Korean consortium for Jordan's first reactor

07 December 2009

A Korean consortium has been selected to build Jordan's first ever nuclear reactor - a 5 MWt research reactor. The order also represents the first overseas contract for a Korean reactor design.

Jordan's research reactor (Image: KAERI)
Jordan's first reactor (Image: KAERI)
Jordan's official Petra news agency announced that the Jordan Atomic Energy Commission (JAEC) had selected a consortium of the Korea Atomic Energy Institute (Kaeri) and Daewoo Engineering and Construction to build a 5 MWt research reactor at the Jordan University for Science and Technology.

The unit is seen as a vital precursor for the kingdom's plans to build a nuclear power reactor, providing training opportunities for nuclear scientists and engineers as well as producing radioisotopes for industry, agriculture and medicine. The contract to build the research reactor and related facilities is worth 200 billion Won ($173 million).

Korea's Ministry of Education, Science and Technology announced that construction of the Korean-design Hanaro research reactor is to begin in 2010, with completion planned for 2014. The Korean consortium was chosen over bids from Invap of Argnetina, China National Nuclear Corporation (CNNC) and AtomStroyExport of Russia.

South Korea has a long and impressive record in developing its own nuclear reactor designs, using reactors supplied under turnkey projects as a starting point, both in the research reactor and power generation sectors. It is now actively marketing its OPR-1000 and APR-1400 power generation units in Middle East and North African countries. Kaeri's Hanaro (coming from High-flux Advanced Neutron Application Reactor) design is a 30 MWt version of the Canadian Maple reactor design. Unlike the ill-fated Maple project, Hanaro has been operating successfully since 1995. The Jordanian contract will be the first time a Korean reactor design has been exported. With 5 MWt specified for the Jordanian project, Kaeri will clearly be supplying a much smaller Hanaro variant.

Preconstruction talks

Meanwhile, the JAEC has announced that it has held its first meeting in preparation for building the country's first nuclear power plant with consulting firm Worley Parsons. The meeting, chaired by JAEC president Khaled Touqan, followed on from the recent award of a $11.3 million pre-construction consultancy services contract to the Australian company as Jordan moves towards its ambition to have a nuclear power plant for electricity and desalination in operation by 2015.

Worley Parsons has been tasked with narrowing down JAEC's shortlist of five potential reactor designs for the country's first power reactor, as well conducting a feasibility study and financial assessment of the project and assisting in the tender for the plant vendor.