Photo: British Nuclear Group
Jordan’s economy has been heavily impacted by its need to import 96 per cent of its energy needs, and so is pressing forward with a project to build the kingdom’s first nuclear power plant. In 2010 energy imports cost Jordan 20 per cent of its gross domestic product.The government has now received technical bids from three short-listed companies, which include Russia’s Atomstroi Export, Canada’s AECL and a consortium formed between French firm AREVA and Japanese Mitsubishi Heavy Industries to build the kingdom’s first 1,000 Megawatt Generation III reactor by the end of the decade.
Jordan’s Atomic Energy Commission stated that a ministerial committee will start reviewing the submissions later this month before announcing the winning firm in December, the Jordan Times reported. According to Atomic Energy Commission member, the NPP, slated to be built in the Balamaa/Majdal area 25 miles northeast of the capital Amman will create up to 5,000 jobs.
Mindful of public opinion in the wake of Japan’s nuclear disaster, three short-listed companies were requested to factor into their tenders the consequences of the 11 March Fukushima incident and comment in detail how their reactor designs would withstand a similar 8.9-magnitude earthquake on the Richter scale.
There are indications however, the Jordan’s environmentalists, spurred by both the “Arab Spring” and the consequences of Fukushima, are prepared to increase their opposition to the planned NPP. Demonstrations have recently been held in Mafraq, and in front of both the Ministry of Energy and the Prime Ministry.