Russia and Jordan agree $10 billion construction project

25 March 2015

Russia and Jordan have signed an intergovernmental agreement on cooperation in the construction and operation of the Middle Eastern country's first nuclear power plant. The document was signed yesterday by Sergey Kirienko, Rosatom director general and Khaled Toukan, chairman of the Jordan Atomic Energy Commission (JAEC).

The document envisages construction of two 1000 MWe VVER units in Az-Zarqa, the Central Region of Jordan, that meet the latest international standards in safety, Rosatom said in a statement to announce the agreement. The Russian corporation said it has reference projects that demonstrate its latest technology, including the Kudankulam nuclear power plant India, with unit 1 in operation.

The agreement determines the parties' responsibilities related to implementation of the first stage of the project, upon completion of which a nuclear power plant agreement is to be signed, Rosatom said. The construction agreement is to be concluded in 2016. Total investment in construction of the plant is expected to be about $10 billion, it added.

The document also envisages setting up a project company that will be the customer, operator and owner of the plant, as well as the owner of the electric power it generates. During the pre-investment stage this company will have to study the proposed construction site and the national grid; select the customer-engineer and the consultant for development of a draft bankable feasibility study. The contractors for these works will be decided through international tenders, Rosatom said.

Kirienko added that Rosatom is ready to work with JAEC on attracting financing for the project and is prepared to jointly provide the investment needed.

The site suitability evaluation process has already started, Rosatom said. Once the feasibility report has been completed, a plan for water supply will be decided. "Water supply is the paramount issue, as the peculiarities of the Jordan project are weather conditions and limited water resources," it said.

The corporation will also support Jordan in creating a nuclear infrastructure and fostering public acceptance of nuclear power. In addition, Rosatom will supply nuclear fuel for the reactors and take back their used fuel.

Russia was selected in October 2013 as the preferred bidder to supply Jordan with its first nuclear power plant. JAEC said then that the initial reactor of the two-unit plant is expected to start operating in 2020. Under Russia's offer, Rosatom's reactor export subsidiary AtomStroyExport (ASE) will be the supplier of the nuclear technology while Rusatom Overseas will be strategic partner and operator of the plant. According to Toukan, Russia will contribute 49% of the project's cost, with the Jordanian government providing the remaining 51%.

Last year, Rosatom said it expects that within two years it will receive a contract to construct the plant, following the signing of a project development agreement on 22 September by Toukan and the CEO of Rusatom Overseas Dzhomart Aliev. That agreement sets the obligations of the parties for the first stage of the construction of the plant.

Researched and written
by World Nuclear News