Last updated: 29 April, 2012

Jordan weighs two offers to build nuclear plant

Energy-poor Jordan said on Sunday a Russian firm and a French-Japanese consortium are to compete to build the kingdom’s first nuclear plant.

“Following a thorough examination, the offers provided by Russia’s Atomstroyexport and a consortium by France’s Areva and Japan’s Mitsubishi were the best proposals that meet Jordan’s requirements,” Atomic Energy Commission said in a statement.

“Talks with these companies will continue to address some technical issues, including the exact location of the plant,” it added, according to state-run Petra news agency.

“The evaluation took into account the highest safety requirements, including lessons from the Fukushima event,” it said.

The Fukushima plant, 220 kilometres (135 miles) northeast of Tokyo, was crippled by meltdowns and explosions caused by Japan’s 9.0 magnitude earthquake and tsunami in March 2011.

Concerns in Jordan have grown since the Japanese disaster, but the kingdom says it needs nuclear technology to meet growing energy demands and to desalinate water.

Jordan, which imports 95 percent of its energy needs, is one of the five driest countries in the world.

It has expressed concerns that cut-offs in unstable Egyptian gas supplies, which normally covers 80 percent of Jordan electricity production, could cost Amman more than $2 billion this year.

Since 2011, the pipeline supplying gas from Egypt to both Israel and the kingdom has been attacked 14 times.

A Jordanian official said Saturday that Cairo has informed Amman it would “resume gas deliveries of 100 million cubic metres per day to the kingdom early next month.”