Despite growing protests against the country’s nuclear plans from residents and environmentalists, the Jordanian government is pressing on with its nuclear programme. According to the local press, the government is expected to announce the name of the winning bid in November as the Jordan Atomic Energy Commission is currently assessing offers from three shortlisted companies. Here at Green Prophet, we have covered the mounting protests from the start and explored their concerns over safety and feasibility as well as the government’s justification of the nuclear reactor.
The Jordanian government wants to build a 1,000 megawatt nuclear reactor as part of its efforts to end its heavy dependence on energy imports. Raouf Dabbas, a senior advisor to the Ministry of Environment in Jordan told Green Prophet in a previous article that the country currently imports around 98% of its oil and energy from the outside, which is clearly problematic. The recent discovery of an estimated 100,000 tonnes of uranium reserves has meant that energy officials are now prioritising nuclear energy as key to achieving energy independence.
The nuclear plant will be located at Majdal, near Mafraq, which is some 40 kilometres northeast of Amman which is the capital of Jordan. However, residents from Mafraq and environmentalists have got together to form ‘Irhamouna’ (Have Mercy On Us in Arabic), a coalition to campaign against the nuclear plant and the dangers of nuclear power.
Around a month ago, Greenpeace Jordan staged a protest and remarked that the government needs to seriously reconsider renewable energy alternatives such as solar and wind power which provide clean and safe energy rather than relying on nuclear energy. Jordan has set itself the target of sourcing 20% of its energy mix from sustainable sources by 2020.
Nidal Hassan, organiser of Irhamouna told Jordan Times, that the residents will be putting up stiff resistance to the nuclear plans and added that “the people of Mafraq do not need and do not want nuclear power.” Protesters have remarked that nuclear power is dirty, expensive, uses up too much water for cooling (which Jordan can’t afford) and that there is still no solution for dealing with nuclear waste. Concerns have also been raised over safety as Jordan lies on a fault line with predications of a serious earthquake every 100 years.
The three shortlisted companies who have placed bids to build Jordan’s nuclear reactor are Canada’s AECL, a French-Japanese consortium comprising AREVA and Mitsubishi Heavy Industries, and Russian Atomstroy Export. Jordan’s nuclear power programme entails the construction of up to four plants to produce over half the country’s electricity needs
: Image via Mohammed Asfour/Greenpeace Jordan on Facebook.
:: Jordan Times
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