Jordan and Russia signed a framework agreement on Tuesday for the construction and operation of the first nuclear power plant in the kingdom at a cost of $10 billion. The deal, which came after nearly a year and a half of talks, is “important” because it constitutes the legal and political framework of support for the kingdom’s nuclear power plant project and determines the general principles of cooperation between Amman and Moscow in this regard, said the Jordan Atomic Energy Commission (JAEC).
The agreement was signed by the President of the JAEC, Khaled Toukan, and the General Manager of Russia’s state-owned Rosatom Company, Sergei Kiriyenko. The two sides had initialled the agreement in late November, and it was approved by the Jordanian cabinet recently.
Jordan chose Rosatom in October 2013 as the best placed company among those who had tendered for the contract. When built, the power plant will produce 2,000 megawatts. The JAEC statement revealed that Rosatom will pay 49.9 per cent of the total cost; the Jordanian government will pay the remaining 50.1 per cent. The two 1,000-megawatt reactors will be built in Amra, in the north of Jordan.
Toukan said that the agreement preserves Jordan’s sovereignty, and Jordanian law will be in force during the 60 years expected lifespan of the plant. He stressed that the agreement protects the state investment, ensures the supply of fuel for the reactor, and gives a future option for the Jordanian government to return the used fuel to Russia. The deal will be submitted to the cabinet in Amman before being presented to parliament.
According to Kiriyenko, the Russians will employ their 70 years of experience in the field of nuclear power in the project. He referred to the high degree of professionalism employed by Jordan’s nuclear experts, which has won the respect of Russian technicians. He added that Russia is currently training Jordanian staff to work in the nuclear programme which will pave the way for strategic cooperation and scientific research.
Russian technology is currently being used to construct at least 20 nuclear reactors, around half of which are in Russia itself. Kiriyenko stressed that they are built with the capability to withstand the devastating earthquakes which affect the region.
Russia was among the first countries with which the Jordanian government signed a nuclear cooperation agreement. Amman and Moscow signed a deal on 22 May 2009 for the use of nuclear energy for peaceful purposes.
In an earlier statement, Toukan said that the total amount spent by Jordan since the start of the project in 2008 up to 2013 was $93.2 million. Just under half of the $98.7 million borrowed from South Korea for this purpose was spent between 2001 and 2013.