AMMAN (AFP) – Jordan and Japan have signed an agreement on civilian nuclear energy cooperation in the ninth such accord made by the kingdom, the official Petra news agency reported.
It said the deal covers “the exploration for and exploitation of uranium, the construction and operation of nuclear reactors, as well as the protection of the environment from radiation.”
Jordan’s Atomic Energy Commission chief Khaled Tukan was quoted as saying that Amman wished to “profit from Japanese experience in the field of nuclear energy.”
“The agreement will allow Japan to export to Jordan technology for the civilian use of nuclear energy,” Tukan said, adding that Jordan hoped to sign a similar accord with the United States “in the coming months.”
Jordan, which imports about 95 percent of its energy needs, has signed nuclear cooperation agreements with several countries in a bid to produce atomic energy for power generation and water desalination.
It already has deals with Argentina, Britain, Canada, China, France, Russia, South Korea and Spain.
The country’s 1.2 billion tonnes of phosphate reserves are estimated to contain 130,000 tonnes of uranium, and the government wants the first nuclear plant to be ready by 2015.
In July, South Korea loaned Jordan 70 million dollars to help build its first nuclear research reactor, a five-megawatt project worth 130 million dollars, at the Jordan University for Sciences and Technology at Irbid.
Jordan is the latest Sunni Arab country, including Egypt and pro-Western Gulf Arab states, to announce plans for nuclear power programmes in the face of Shiite Iran’s controversial atomic drive.