Touqan: Jordan is the decision maker regarding the Nuclear project

Confirming to Alanbat Newspaper: The Nuclear project is sovereign.

-         The cost of the Nuclear Research Center is 112 million dinars, of which 60 million for Korea.

-         The tow Nuclear plants will produce 2000MW of electricity, and Jordan’s annual need of the basic load is 2400 MW

-         The Commission had begun with the Uranium extraction and the central Kingdom reserves are enough for 60 years.

-         Research reactor aimed at developing Jordanian manpower to sustain the program.

-         Qusayer Amra area is suitable for setting up the nuclear plants, both geographically and wind toward the desert.

Interviewd by:

Bilal Alabweni

Radad Alqallab

Mazen Alkhateeb

Khathem  Aljaghbeir

Rashid Alassaf

Photographer: Mohammad Alrafayaah







The Chairman of the Atomic Energy Commission Dr. Khalid Touqan has expected to start the “Reseach Nuclear Reactor” next week within the Campus of University of Technology.

Dr. Touqan said during an interview with ' Alanbat ' that the load of the nuclear fuel would be accompanied by the introduction of the nuclear reactor in ' hot ' service for six months, stressing that the completion percentage has increased to 98%.

The Chairman of the Nuclear Energy Commission, also added that the subsequent phase will be by loading the nuclear fuel to the nuclear reactor down to 'forestry' stage for then to test on low-power of 50 kW; and gradually lifting the power from one megawatt to reach five-megawatt, the Research Reactor capacity.

Touqan said that cornerstone at the Research Project lies in the development of Jordanian manpower to sustain the nuclear program, as it is a national programme that contains what is 'sovereign' and 'strategic',
what makes it imperative for those who are responsible to be Jordanians.

He said: ' A Department of Nuclear Engineering was established at the University of Science and Technology; accepts 25 students annually with high average. Four groups have graduated so far.  And a number of them are working with Atomic Commission and others with the Energy and Minerals Regularity Commission. The Commission sends a significant number for overseas missions such as Korea, France, America and Russia to attend masters and doctoral programmes.

According to Dr Touqan; 35 nuclear engineers were trained in Korea at Korean Nuclear Research Institute, and working in Jordanian Nuclear Reactor for Research and Training, which 98% of it has been completed.

The estimated cost of the Nuclear Research Centre, which includes the Research Reactor, according to Touqan, is 112 million. The Korean Government has funded 60 million dinars of which five MW operating capacity.


One of the major objectives for the establishment of the Centre is to produce medical radioactive isotopes for the hospitals, where recently signed an agreement with the Royal Medical Services, so that the medical sector relies on itself in the production of this material.

The health sector imports of radioactive medical isotopes what worth $ 1.5 million annually, according to the Chairman of the Atomic Energy Commission. He also said: during the next period the Commission will have a role in the production of medical isotopes for the materials of
“Iodine, Technonshim and Iradiom”, we will work on the preparation of radioactive materials to deliver to the Royal Medical Services which will then prepare the pharmaceutical materials for medical prepossess.

Dr. Touqan clarified that the Research Reactor (multi-purpose) at the University of Science and Technology; will be the only scientific foundation and the specialized in the Middle East. Reflecting one of the most important goals created in education and training for engineering students, to enable them to conduct experiments, research, industrial and scientific studies.

With regard to the safety and security of nuclear reactor; Dr. Touqan stressed that the Research Nuclear Reactor has a sophisticated and integrated security system, with security protection around the clock in addition to the electronic security equipment subject to permanent control.

Dr Touqan emphasized that the maximum general safety measures have been taken, where the reactor designs was revised by Jordanian and French specialists in six years ago; explaining that each step of the creation of the reactor was reviewed by the Energy and Minerals Regularity Commission and the French consulting company; NucAdvisor, where the Regulatory Commission had issued their approval after the revision of initial and final safety report.

To ensure that all procedures are subject to the General safety requirements; Dr. Khalid Touqan assured that the Atomic Energy Commission, Energy and Minerals Regularity Commission, the American and Korean advisers, had reviewed all the documents relating to security and safety. Construction permit were given only after checking the full safety requirements.

The Commission has applied in December of 2014 for the Energy and Minerals Regularity Commission for license 'work permission', and it is expected to have permission to load fuel for nuclear reactor ' in a week.

He also stressed that the Commission; during the coming six months will conduct a 24-hour tests to make sure of the results of general safety.

As for Jordanian nuclear station, said Dr. Touqan, studies concluded that Qussyer Amra which is 10km far from the Desert Castle and 22 km from Alazraq; is suitable for building up the station.

He added, two nuclear reactors will be built with a capacity of 2000 MW. The first station will start its work in 2024 where the second station will start in the following year.

Dr Touqan stressed that the two reactors will depend on cooling process of wastewater after refining which will be dragged from Kherbet Samra area across two underground pipes, in which one will be the master and the second will be a back up.

Touqan has estimated the need of cooling water for the reactors by 45 million cubic meters annually, noting that construction site is suitable; geographically that do not require energy for cooling water drag; the wind movement which will be towards the desert, and the low seismic activity.

And the reasons for exclusion of the establishment of the nuclear plant in Aqaba, Touqan said that several difficulties forced us to failure to establish there, such as the narrow sea Strip, high currents and high temperature, the effects of possible station on the marine environment, as well as facilities for oil and gas and chemicals, furthermore, Aqaba is a seismically active area.

Dr. Toukan stressed that Amra area free of human parameters, where the closest city population 80 km far, as well as the wind movement is toward the desert.

The Chairman of the Atomic Energy Commission has predicted to start the establishment of the nuclear reactors at the end of 2017, adding that the construction period will last seven years.

The sources of funding for the nuclear plants, Dr Touqan said that the paid-up capital is three billion dollars; seven billion dollars will be obtained as external funding to be paid later.

He also clarified that Jordan’s share is one third, to be paid in seven years, while the share of other parties involved in the paid-in capital is (2) billion dollars.

Touqan said there are negotiations with several parties, including China, which expressed a desire to become a partner in this project.

The Chairman of the Commission stressed that the Commission insisted that Jordan is the decision maker in the Nuclear project because it is a sovereign project.

He said, there were proposals to build the entire project system BOO (build, own, operate) explaining that the Commission rejected this proposal and insisted that it is a sovereign matter 'must keep the control of it to Jordan State’

And about the feasibility of the nuclear project, the chairman of the Atomic Energy Commission assured that this project would be a fortune not only economically but strategically as well, adding that Jordan will be a source of fuel for the neighboring States.

He said the Jordanian phosphate contains at least 100 tons of uranium, which is not exploiting by Jordan so far, stressing that the commission will extract the uranium out of the phosphate at some future stage.

Dr Touqan said that the Central kingdom reserves of uranium in 'Sowaqa and Khan Alzabaib' is 40 000 tones, while the reserves in the South, Hassa, about 30 000 tons.

He said that the commission began to extract uranium from the Central of Kingdom, expecting that sufficient uranium reserves would last sixty years, indicating that the uranium will be exported to neighboring countries after running the nuclear plant.

Touqan said that the nuclear reactors will have multiple positives on the electricity sector, for example, the basic load for the electricity reaches 2400 MW, while the nuclear plants will produce 2,000 megawatts, adding that the price of the nuclear electricity will be competitive for any of their counterparts of other energy sources. He also said, this would provide much to the treasury.

Touqan also added that The State Jordan imports 5 million tons of heavy fuel and diesel supplies for producing electricity at a cost of 1.5 billion dinars a year, while the nuclear fuel cost will not exceed 50 million annually to run nuclear plants.