Greenpeace Raises More Questions Over Jordan’s Nuclear Plans

jordan-nuclear-power-greenpeaceFrom overstretched contractors exposed by Wikileaks to Japanese criticism over the poor selection of the reactor site, Greenpeace is raising serious questions over Jordan’s nuclear plans

Despite ongoing protests from green campaigners, it seems that Jordan is now determined to go down the path of nuclear power. Citing poor energy independence and high energy costs (around 22% of GDP), the country has laid out plans to establish a 1,000 megawatt nuclear reactor just 40 kilometres north of Amman the capital city.

However, a local branch of Greenpeace has been raising serious questions about these plans. One of which is the ability of the Russian company Atomstroy Export – which is one of the final three bidders currently being considered by the Jordanian government – to fulfill its commitments. The other being the poor location of the nuclear reactor so close to a water-poor, bustling metropolis.

Problematic Nuclear Industry

A diplomatic cable released by Wikileaks which dates back to 2009 registers official concern that Russian nuclear company Atomstroy Export (ASE) won’t be able to “fulfill its committments”  to international nuclear energy contracts  due to “the crunch on credit, insufficient machine-building infrastructure, and a paucity of trained specialists.” The cable by John Beyrle, US Ambassador to Russia also remarked that Russia’s ex-deputy minister for atomic energy, Bulat Nigmatulin declared any plans by ASE to seek new contracts “a fantasy.”

Greenpeace remarked in a public statement, “Since the problems faced by Atomstroy Export – lack of funding, sufficient infrastructure and skilled workers – are common problems in the nuclear industry, Greenpeace calls on Arab states to move away from the construction of nuclear reactors and towards renewable energy that are safer for people and environmentally friendly.”

Other bidders hoping to build Jordan’s nuclear reactor include Canada’s AECL and a French-Japanese consortium comprising of AREVA and Mitsubishi Heavy Industries. The Jordanian government is expected to announce the winning bid in November 2011.

Criticism Over Location by Environmentalists & Experts

Another issues raised by Greenpeace is the proposed location of the nuclear reactor. According to a Greenpeace statement issued in September, Japanese experts who visited the site in the city of Mafraq criticized the location because of its proximity to the population and the lack of sufficient water to cool the reactors. It appears that the original prosposed site north of Aqaba was rejected due to high infrastructure costs and unsuitable topography.

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. Over the summer they held a sit-in to protest the nuclear plans and particularly the threat it posed to their health and safety. Jordan hopes to generate electricity from nuclear power by 2019.

:: Greenpeace

:: Image via Greenpeace Arabic.

For more on Jordan and Nuclear Power:

Jordan Pushes On With Its Nuclear Plans

Jordanians Step Up Nuclear Protests

Canada, Japan, Russia and France Bid To Build Jordan’s First Reactor

Protest Against Nuclear Power In Jordan

Jordan Explores The Nuclear Option

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4 thoughts on “Greenpeace Raises More Questions Over Jordan’s Nuclear Plans”

  1. Hiroshi Sato says:

    Dear sir,
    My name is Hiroshi Sato who is a TV producer in Japan.
    I would like to contact and ask something with director. Please tell me personal Mail address. We would like to filmming fo nuclear issue in Jordan and others.

    With best regards,

  2. abdelrahim daboobi says:

    respectable jordanian nuclear scientists!salute for yr sincerity in drafting/concluding nuclear agreements with authoritative nuclear countries/agencies governing cooperation in areas of interest.you promoted nuclear awareness and invoked jordanian potentials to take part in shaping energy future.however,renewable energy technologies
    constitute the only proper solutions for jordan taking into consider
    -ation finantial costs,safety,availability,free-fuel sustainability, added values and the promotion of indigenous spirit.prohibitive, risky and uncertain nuclear reactors to generate electricity are not
    justifiable once we are blessed with solar energy abundance and vast unique terrain/topography producing windpower to drive mast-mounted turbines generating electricity.suffice to say and tell what other countries are doing to give renewable energy the lead,and once resp
    -ectable scholars like you are enabled to make these proven technolo
    -gies realties on the ground armed with knowledge/expertise in selec- ting latest generations,best efficiencies,modularity,growth capabil- ities and smartness in transport/grid/control,then the best payback
    is secured.usa is authorizing one latest generation nuclear reactor
    in three decades.the obama adminstration started with cancelling the
    nuclear waste geological repository in an isolated spot in the heart of nevada desert and the accumulated $18b failed to compensate. end- less stories,countless acts cofirm the renewable energy era & trend.
    kindly revolutionize electricity,please support renewable energy and
    unlock the detained national potentials to produce.for what purposes
    we established more than 25 universities/institutions,and why the slog
    -ans of youth/skilled labour/vocational training/intelligencia if not
    enabled and translated.

  3. Arwa Aburawa says:

    I couldn’t have put it better. Although the huge uranium finds must have something to do with it all…

  4. matti kones,architect-ecoplanner says:

    jordan like israel,is blessed with free non-polluting and abundant solar energy;there exist several proved efficient technologies to exploit it;the syrian-african geological fault,might cause serious earthquakes in the region(it happened in the past…);and water for cooling thermal stations is scarce also in this region!so,why think nuclear and not solar???

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