Saturday, October 22, 2011

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Saturday, October 22, 2011
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JEDDAH - Jordan's pursuit to become a nuclear energy state, though promising, faces several major obstacles, Brookings Institution's "Models for Aspirant Civil Nuclear Energy Nations in the Middle East" report said.

The study, released lat month, pointed out that rising electricity demand, desalinization needs, and opportunity cost of consuming domestic energy resources all point to the need to adopt nuclear energy.
The report noted that Jordan faces two major challenges in its nuclear drive, namely shortages of both expertise and funds.

Despite the presence of uranium reserves - estimated at over 100,000 tons - the country lacks the finances to bear up-front capital costs without placing stress on the state budget. "Unless Jordan plans to link with a broader Gulf grid, it simply makes no sense to build a 1,000MW reactor for internal use," Ebinger added.

According to the report, Jordan's best option would be a turnkey project, under which a major vendor would assume all up-front costs and sell the plant to the government upon completion of construction.

The study noted that Jordan is relying on an unusual approach, a public-private partnership model, with the Kingdom bringing in a strategic partner to help defray up-front capital costs. "With all the turmoil in the region there is a growing perception that money needs to be diverted from these programs to support pressing social issues," said Charles Ebinger, director of Brookings' Energy Security Initiative and an author of the report.

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