Jordan scraps $10bn Russian nuclear scheme

Jordan has scrapped a $10bn project to build the country’s first nuclear power plant with Russian reactors.

The Jordan Atomic Energy Commission (JAEC) said Monday, 11 June that it cancelled the plan with Rosatom because the Russian side wanted to secure the finance through commercial loans, which it deemed too costly.

A decision not to proceed was taken in May, reports Jordanian media.

The plan with Russia had been in development since 2014, prior to which Jordan had been considering a number of reactor vendors.

In a statement, JAEC told The Jordan Times that commercial loans "would have increased the cost of the project and the prices of generated electricity".

Using Russian technology, the 2,000MW plant was to have two pressurised water reactors of the VVER variety, first developed in the former Soviet Union, according to a cooperation agreement signed between Jordan and Rosatom in 2015.

Rosatom is Russia’s state-owned nuclear power developer. In April it began laying concrete for Turkey’s first nuclear power plant, which will use four VVER-1200 reactors.

Jordan, which depends on foreign oil and gas for 96% of its energy, has not given up on nuclear. The JAEC will now explore the use of small modular reactors (SMRs), a concept under development in a number of countries that would see smaller, portable reactors mass produced from standardised components.

Rosatom remains in the frame for SMR development in Jordan, along with other suppliers.

Without specifically mentioning the plant project cancellation, Rosatom said on 27 May that it and JAEC had decided to "intensify and step up" cooperation on SMRs with a joint feasibility study for a Russian-designed SMR project.

Last year JAEC and Rolls-Royce agreed to work on such a study, and JAEC has talked with other countries as well about SMRs, including China, the Times reported.

Image: One of Rosatom’s nuclear power plants in Russia (Rosatom)

Further Reading:

Story for GCR? Get in touch via email: [email protected]

Latest articles in News