Nuclear energy to supply Jordan desalination plants

Four nuclear power plants in the southern region of Jordan will provide almost 750 MW of energy for desalination and water pumping, according to a report in the Jordan Times.

Desalination plants were included in a nuclear cooperation agreement signed on 22 May 2009 by Russia and Jordan.

The Jordan Atomic Energy Commission (JAEC) announced plans to establish four nuclear plants in the southern region; two near Aqaba by the year 2025 and two near Karak around the southern shores of the Dead Sea.

Under an agreement signed on 26 May 2009 between the Ministry of Water & Irrigation and the JAEC, the ministry will supply the country's four nuclear plants, to be established over a span of 30-35 years, with 400 million m³/year of desalinated water generated from the Red-Dead project.

The first nuclear plant, however, will start up on the coast using seawater as a cooling source. Only when the Red-Dead project is up and running - after 2025 - will the remaining power stations be built using desalinated water from the Red-Dead project.

"Around 40% of the desalination plants that will be established in Jordan will use their energy from the nuclear plants, which will be our main consumers," Minister of Water & Irrigation Raed Abu Saud told reporters at the signing ceremony. "This will encourage us to carry out the first phase of the Red-Dead project faster".

The Red-Dead canal project seeks to generate much needed water and save the Dead Sea, which has been falling at the rate of one metre per year, largely due to the diversion of water from the Jordan River for agricultural and industrial use. However, it requires Israeli cooperation to go ahead.

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