Jordan’s nuclear power plant cost may hit $9.8bn – report

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Jordan's energy ministry has received bids for its planned nuclear facility. Photo - Getty Images

An international nuclear organisation has warned rising construction costs will push the price of Jordan’s first nuclear reactor to around $10 billion.

A recent report issued by the World Nuclear Association – a consortium of industry leaders and nuclear power advocates – claimed the cost of the country’s first nuclear power plant might reach $9.8 billion. Decommissioning and financing costs were not included in the figure.

The association projected construction costs to hit around $4,900 per kilowatt-hour for the planned 1,000-1,100-megawatt reactor,  based its projections on current market rates.

In its April monthly report, the world nuclear body said Jordan was likely to enter a 45-year period power purchasing agreement with a strategic operator in lieu with industry standards. It added that such measures would be taken to limit the impact of the project on the Hashemite Kingdom’s spiralling budget deficit.

Jordan Atomic Energy Commission short-listed French energy giant GDF Suez, Russian Rosatom, Chinese Datang International Power Generation Co. and Japanese Kansai Electric Power Co. last year as strategic operators and investors in the plant. The reactor will be constructed on a site near Mafraq, 40 kilometres northeast of the capital Amman.

Earlier this week, the commission announced it is also holding talks with Russian Atomstroy Export and a consortium of French firm AREVA and Japanese Mitsubishi Heavy Industries for the construction of the Generation III reactor, expected to be completed by 2020.

Nuclear energy officials insist financing and projected electricity costs must be the key factors in the final selection. Energy officials insist nuclear power is vital to country’s soaring energy needs. Jordan currently spends one-fifth of its gross domestic product to pay its energy bills.

The country has bolstered its nuclear drive amid disruption in gas supplies from Egypt, the country’s main energy source. Attacks on the gas pipeline have pushed the Kingdom’s national energy bill to $4 billion. Many Jordanians have denounced constant hike in electricity prices.

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