Jordan, Canada ink nuclear cooperation deal

AMMAN, JORDAN - Jordan and Canada signed a cooperation agreement on peaceful use of nuclear energy, according to Jordan Atomic Energy Commission (JAEC).

The agreement comes after the MOU signed last June by JAEC, Atomic Energy of Canada Limited (AECL) and SNC-Lavalin International, one of the world's largest engineering and construction firms.

Under the agreement, Canada will extend assistance to Jordan in building a nuclear plant to generate electricity and desalinate seawaters, JAEC Chairman Khaled Touqan told reporters after the signing ceremony.

Canada will also support Jordan in nuclear safety as well as radiological emergency plans, said Touqan, adding that human resources training and extraction of uranium in the kingdom are also covered in the agreement.

The agreement, the official said, also paves the way to using nuclear energy in other domains, like agriculture, industry and medicine, among others.

Unlike its oil-rich neighbors, Jordan faces grave energy challenges. Currently, about 96 percent of its energy needs were met by imports at a cost of some 20 percent of its gross domestic products.

In a drive to reduce the country's dependence on imported hydrocarbons, the government mapped out a nuclear energy program in 2007, under which Jordan will have its first nuclear reactor up and running by 2016, with more to be built in the years leading up to 2030.

So far, Jordan has inked a series of cooperation agreements or MOUs with countries including France, Canada, China and the Republic of Korea and Britain.



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