Jordan Atomic Energy Commission has signed a project development agreement (PDA) with Russia’s state nuclear energy firm Rosatom Overseas for the construction of its first nuclear power plant at Zarqa, located northeast of Amman.

The PDA was signed on 22 September on the sidelines of an International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) meeting in Vienna. It sets out the obligations of the two parties for the first phase of the nuclear scheme, which will comprise two reactors with a combined capacity of 2,000MW. 

During the pre-investment phase that will now follow, the major technical characteristics as well as financial and economic parameters of the project will be defined. An engineering, procurement and construction (EPC) contract is due to be signed in 2016, with commercial operation expected 10 years later.

Rosatom Overseas was announced as the preferred bidder for the nuclear scheme in October 2013. Jordan is expected to provide 51 per cent of the project financing, with the Russian firm providing the remainder.

The nuclear project forms part of Jordan’s plans to diversify its energy mix and reduce its reliance on fuel imports, which are a huge drain on the economy. By 2030, it is hoped nuclear power will provide 30 per cent of the country’s electricity.

The Jordanian and Russian governments signed an intergovernmental agreement on cooperation in the peaceful use of nuclear energy in May 2009.