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Jordan is ramping up efforts to expand its nuclear energy production

Jordan’s Atomic Energy Commission (JAEC) is looking into building small nuclear reactors for electricity production and water desalination, JAEC Chairman Khaled Toukan said at a meeting with the Jordanian parliament’s financial committee, reports Al Ghad. The commission is seeking USD 8.45 mn (JOD 6 mn) in funding to begin manufacturing industrial components for the nuclear reactors, Attaqa quotes Toukan as saying. The country already has a Korea-built nuclear reactor, which was inaugurated in 2016, to produce isotopes for medical purposes.

Jordan is throwing a lot of weight behind nuclear energy: Jordan is looking to develop four nuclear energy projects, with one IAEA-certified project being developed in partnership with Jordan University of Science and Technology and establishing an agency for nuclear energy research, Toukan said, according to Attaqa. Meanwhile, JAEC plans to issue a USD 7 mn (JOD 5 mn) tender before the end of 2023 to import nuclear fuel shipments for a three-year period, according to Al Ghad.

It has the uranium deposits needed to support the industry: Jordan has enough uranium deposits to produce 42k tons of yellowcake (partially refined uranium) in six years, Attaqa quoted Toukan saying last year, indicating that Jordan has enough uranium to cover the country’s domestic needs with leftover ore to export regionally to Saudi Arabia and the UAE.

And there are plans to expand on yellowcake production: The commission is currently in talks with a number of unnamed Canadian companies and the Turkish Atomic Energy Authority for investments to develop commercial yellowcake factories, according to Attaqa.

Nuclear power is gaining traction in MENA: Egypt’s Dabaa nuclear facility is expected to contribute some 4.8 GW to the country’s energy capacity once it’s operational and over in the GCC, Saudi Arabia is making plans to establish a nuclear power industry for domestic use and export. KSA has two reactors coming online with a combined capacity of 3.2 GW in the coming decade and is targeting 17 GW of nuclear capacity by 2040. Earlier this week, Turkey’s new energy plan to meet its 2053 net zero target included nuclear power accounting for 11% of its energy needs.

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