Jordan and Russia to sign $10b nuclear deal this month

Experts worry that if Iran goes nuclear it will lead other Sunni Middle Eastern countries to follow suit with their own programs.

March 22, 2015 17:25
1 minute read.
King Abdullah

King Abdullah. (photo credit: REUTERS)

The Jordanian government is set to sign a nuclear agreement with Russia later this month in order to build its first nuclear power plant, Jordanian media reported.

Russian state-owned Rosatom will build two nuclear power plants and the spent nuclear fuel could be sent back to Russia, which is what made the Russian offer attractive, said Khaled Toukan, chairman of the Jordan Atomic Energy Agency, Jordan’s Petra news agency reported Saturday.

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Toukan said Rosatom agreed to supply the plant with nuclear fuel for 10 years for the station, which has an operational life of 60 years.

After 10 years, Jordan can choose another supplier.

Rosatom will be responsible for 49 percent of the plant’s $10 billion construction and operation costs while the Kingdom will maintain 51%.

Earlier this month, The Korea Herald reported that the leaders of Saudi Arabia and South Korea agreed to cooperate to build more than two small and medium-size nuclear reactors in projects worth as much as $2b.

South Korean President Park Geun-hye arrived in Riyadh and met with King Salman to discuss ways to enhance bilateral relations.

The two leaders signed a memorandum of understanding to build the Asian country’s SMART reactors, designed by the Korea Atomic Energy Research Institute specifically for Middle Eastern countries to generate electricity and desalinate seawater, said the report.

The agreement calls for a feasibility study to construct the reactors in Saudi Arabia, which should be completed by 2018.

These nuclear agreements come as the West is reportedly close to reaching a nuclear deal with Iran.

Experts worry that if Iran goes nuclear or if a deal is reached, it will lead other Sunni Middle Eastern countries to follow suit with their own programs.

“The agreement is expected to open opportunities for South Korean firms to participate in Saudi Arabia’s nuclear reactor project,” said An Chong-bum, Park’s senior secretary for economic affairs, the Korea Herald reported.

If the deal goes through, it would be the first time the country’s small and medium- sized reactors would be exported, officials said.

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