Jordan close to commissioning nuclear reactors

Reactors will play part in the kingdom's drive to become more energy efficient
Jordan close to commissioning nuclear reactors
By Massoud A. Derhally
Thu 07 Mar 2013 04:51 PM

Jordan will decide next month which group of companies will build two nuclear reactors, the kingdom's first, as part of a strategy to become energy efficient.

The kingdom will pick Russia's Rosatom or France's Areva and Japan's Mitsubishi to build the 1GW reactors that will cost €12bn, the Financial Times reported, citing said Khaled Toukan, chairman of the Jordan Atomic Energy Commission.

Jordan imports more than 90 percent of all its energy needs (the daily equivalent of 100,000 barrels of a oil a day) and relies on foreign grants to finance its current account and fiscal deficits.

The kingdom until recently was dependent on Egypt for its gas supply, which has caused its public debt to soar.

Jordan's public debt rose 23.7 percent to 16.5bn dinars ($23bn) or about 75 percent of gross domestic product last year, according to government figures.

In parallel to its pursuit of nuclear energy the kingdom is also looking at shale extraction. Jordan has the world’s fourth-largest reserves of oil shale , an organic-rich, fine-grained sedimentary rock from which liquid hydrocarbons (shale oil) can be produced. Shale oil is a substitute for conventional crude oil, and the oil can also be burned directly for power production similar to coal.

The kingdom, which has one of the smallest economies in the region, is also planning to build a $18bn pipeline with Iraq that will help its neighbour export its oil from the southern city of Basra through the port city of Aqaba by 2017.

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