Jordan selects its nuclear technology

29 October 2013

Russia has been selected as the preferred bidder to supply Jordan with its first nuclear power plant. The initial reactor of the two-unit plant is expected to start operating in 2020.

Khaled Toukan, chairman of the Jordan Atomic Energy Commission (JAEC), told the country's official news agency Petra that Russian state nuclear corporation Rosatom will build the plant. 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, reportedly to be $10 billion, with the Jordanian government providing the remaining 51%. However, he said that financing of the plant has yet to be finalized and noted that Russian could supply the plant on a build-own-operate basis.

Three vendors were shortlisted by JAEC in May 2010: an Areva-Mitubishi Heavy Industries consortium, Russia's AtomStroyExport and Canada's SNC-Lavalin International. The designs under consideration were the Atmea1 pressurized water reactor, the AES-92 model VVER-1000, and the Enhanced Candu-6 pressurized heavy-water reactor. The vendors were subsequently invited to tender for the turnkey plant and submitted their technical offers to JAEC in July 2011.

In April 2012, JAEC announced that it had narrowed down the list of offers to those from ASE and Areva-MHI.

Areva acknowledged JAEC's decision to select the VVER-1000 instead of the Atmea1 design, noting that its design "met the needs and requirements of the Kingdom in terms of safety and competitiveness."

The new plant will comprise two reactors, but its siting remains unclear. It is to be built in Jordan's Amra region, some 60 kilometres east of the city of Zarqa, Toukan told Petra. However, according to Rosatom, the plant is to be sited near the city of Irbid, about 70 kilometres north of Amman. Jordan has previously said it intends to start building a 750-1000 MWe reactor in 2013 with a view to operation by 2020, followed by a second unit coming on line around 2025. In addition to providing electricity, the plant will also be used for desalinating water.

In January 2012, ASE submitted a separate proposal to build four reactors for the country's second nuclear power plant. At the time, the JAEC stressed that its decision on the constructor of its first nuclear power plant would not be influenced by that proposal.

Researched and written
by World Nuclear News