Jordan weighs three offers to build nuclear reactor

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Jordan is studying offers from Russian, Canadian and French firms to build a nuclear reactor to help the energy-poor kingdom meet its power needs after rejecting a South Korean bid, an official said on Tuesday.

"Jordan is currently examining offers by Russia's Atomstroyexport, Atomic Energy of Canada and a third joint one by France's Areva and Japan's Mitsubishi," the Jordanian official told AFP on condition of anonymity.

"The offer by the South Korean consortium led by Korea Electric Power Corporation has been dropped for financial, technical and other reasons."

Jordan, which imports 95 percent of its energy needs and is one of the 10 most water-impoverished countries in the world, is seeking to build the 1,000-megawatt nuclear plant near the Red Sea port of Aqaba to generate power and desalinate water.

Amman will announce the winning proposal within a year, the official said.

In March, the state-run Korean Atomic Energy Research Institute and Daewoo Engineering and Construction Co signed a deal with Jordan to construct a nuclear reactor for research and training at the Jordan University for Sciences and Technology near the northern city of Irbid.

It is the latest Arab country, including Egypt and pro-Western Gulf states, to announce plans for nuclear power projects despite the ongoing controversy over Iran's atomic drive.

© 2010 AFP

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