(MENAFN - Jordan Times) The Jordan Nuclear Regulatory Commission (JNRC) is currently in talks with an international company to aid in evaluating the site of the country's first nuclear power plant, a senior official said on Sunday.
JNRC Director General Jamal Sharaf said the commission is considering partnering with an international consultant to examine various studies being carried out on the proposed site for a 1,000 megawatt nuclear power plant, some 20km outside the port city of Aqaba.
"We are in talks with an international company to work with us on a risk assessment report," he said in response to a question at a press conference yesterday.
According to Sharaf, it will take the commission around one year to review the site assessment studies, headed by Belgian firm Tractebel-GDF Suez, which are expected to be completed in late 2011.
In order to review the Environmental Impact Assessment, which will be carried out by a consortium of regional and international engineering firms, the JNRC will partner closely with the Environment Ministry, he added.
"They have the expertise in this area, and we will look at ways of closer cooperation to review the study's findings," he said.
Under the law, the JNRC is the body responsible for reviewing the assessments and determining safety risks.
Meanwhile, the National Nuclear Safety Committee will convene for the first time today to address nuclear safety issues in the Kingdom.
Headed by the JNRC, the committee includes representatives of the foreign and interior ministries, the Public Security Department, the Civil Defence Department, the Jordan Armed Forces, the General Intelligence Department and the Legislation Bureau.
The committee was formed in order to ensure a comprehensive national approach to nuclear safety and security, Sharaf said, and one of its first tasks will be to implement a national strategy for nuclear safety, currently being drafted by the commission.
In yesterday's press conference, Sharaf said the commission aims to train its staff in all aspects of the country's peaceful nuclear programme by the end of 2010.
The JNRC has so far employed around two-thirds of the employee target proposed by the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA), and is sending staff to the IAEA, the US Nuclear Regulatory Commission, France, Canada and South Korea for training well ahead of major developments in the Kingdom's nuclear programme, such as subcritical assembly of the nuclear research reactor in Irbid, estimated within two years, and uranium mining, expected to commence in 2012.
By Taylor Luck