(MENAFN - Jordan Times) Rising construction costs are likely to push the price tag of the Kingdom's first nuclear reactor to some 10 billion, according to an international nuclear organisation.
A report issued recently by the World Nuclear Association - a consortium of industry leaders and nuclear power advocates - said that the cost of the country's first nuclear power plant might reach 9.8 billion, not counting financing and decommissioning costs.
Based on current market rates, the association projected construction costs to reach some 4,900 per kilowatt-hour for the planned 1,000-1,100-megawatt reactor.
In a monthly report issued last month, the association reported that Jordan was likely to enter a long-term power purchasing agreement with a strategic operator, over a 45-year period in keeping with industry standards, in order to limit the impact of the project on the Kingdom's burgeoning budget deficit.
Last year, the Jordan Atomic Energy Commission short-listed French energy giant GDF Suez, Russian Rosatom, Chinese Datang International Power Generation Co. and Japanese Kansai Electric Power Co. as strategic operators and investors in the plant, to be constructed on a site near Mafraq, 40 kilometres northeast of the capital.
On Sunday, the commission announced that it had entered parallel talks with Russian Atomstroy Export and a consortium of French firm AREVA and Japanese Mitsubishi Heavy Industries for the construction of the Generation III reactor, expected to be online by 2020.
According to nuclear energy officials, financing and projected electricity costs will be among the deciding factors in the final selection.
Energy officials have singled out nuclear power as key to weaning the country off energy imports, which currently cost the Kingdom one-fifth of its gross domestic product.
The nuclear drive comes amid ongoing cuts in Egyptian gas supplies, the country's main energy source, which has pushed the Kingdom's national energy bill to 4 billion and is expected to lead to higher electricity tariffs.