Jordanian MPs vote to suspend ‘expensive’ nuclear reactor

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

The Jordanian lower house of the parliament adopted a resolution on Wednesday demanding the suspension of the construction of the nuclear reactor.

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

Some MPs dubbed the project as an ambiguous nuclear programme. They stressed that it would only add more pressure on the finances of the country and worsen its debt situation.

The chamber called for the development of a feasibility study and guarantees for adequate funding of the reactor, whose construction is expected to have a cost of $5 billion.

However, Khaled Toukan, commissioner of the Jordan Atomic Energy Commission, said the country’s nuclear programme will be unaffected by a parliamentary motion to halt the project, insisting the project’s activities fall in line with lawmakers’ demands.

Jordan has seen several campaigns in recent months to stop building the nuclear plant on the grounds that the project requires large amounts of water which is scarce in Jordan and involved environmental risks.

Jordan had signed several bilateral agreements over the years on nuclear cooperation with United States, France, South Korea, China, Japan, Canada, Russia, Ukraine, Romania, Spain, Argentina and the United Kingdom. It signed a contract with Spain for the construction of a 1,100 megawatt reactor, expected to be completed in 2020.

According to the International Energy Agency (IEA), Jordan imports 96% of the energy consumed in the country. The country hopes to reduce its dependency on imported energy by 2035 by initiating nuclear and other renewable energy programmes.

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