Russia to start nuclear power plant in Jordan

Russia will start design and preparations for the construction of a 2,000MW nuclear power plant in the Jordanian province of Zarqa following an agreement signed this week.

The deal sees Rusatom Overseas begin work on the water cooling system, a feasibility study, site evaluation, and environmental impact assessment – paid for by the Jordanian government.

Rusatom Overseas is a subsidiary of Russia’s state atomic energy corporation, Rosatom. It promotes Russian nuclear technology abroad.

The deal, signed on 22 September between Dzhomart Aliev, CEO of Rusatom Overseas, and Khaled Toukan, Chairman of the Jordan Atomic Energy Commission, paves the way for a construction contract for the two-unit power plant to be signed in one and a half to two years time, a Rosatom statement said.

Khaled Tukan said that "these four [activities] can be carried out by Russian specialists only, because they possess the technology".

If it goes ahead, this will be Jordan’s first nuclear power station. The country imports most of its energy and is seeking greater energy security.

Rosatom’s chief executive officer Sergey Kirienko said the agreement means the project will go ahead. 

"It is not a separate preliminary stage; these are the works, which must be carried out in any case when any nuclear power plant is built," he said. 

"I consider it a great achievement that the Russian and Jordanian specialists together have found a very good site to build the nuclear power plant, which features low seismic impact and good geology. The Government of Jordan has managed to find a solution for the plant water supply.

We have done an analysis and can confirm that this is absolutely feasible solution to the water supply." He added that the Jordanian government had made "a sound and up-to-date decision" by opening the plant to investors, including those from other countries. 

"We also are ready to participate as an investor, not only as an engineering company," he said. "But we are not pretending to the controlling stock; we proceed from the fact that it is a Jordanian plant and it must be controlled by Jordan."

Photograph: The city of Russeifa, in the Zarqa River Basin, the region of Jordan where the new nuclear power station will be sited (Wikimedia Commons)

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