Jordan has selected a Russian-led consortium to build the country’s first nuclear reactor, which is planned to deliver 12 per cent of the kingdom’s energy by 2020.

The Jordan Atomic Energy Commission (JAEC) has selected Russia’s Atomstroyexport as the preferred bidder to build the 1,000MW reactor in the Amra region, 60 kilometres east of Zarqa city.

The selection of the preferred bidder follows a protracted tendering process, with JAEC receiving bids from three firms for the nuclear scheme in January 2011. In April 2012, the commission shortlisted offers from the Russian group and the Areva/Mitsubushi consortium.

The nuclear programme is part of Jordan’s efforts to diversify its energy sources by 2030. The government set up a committee for Nuclear Strategy in 2007 to set out a programme for nuclear power to provide 30 per cent of electricity by 2030, and to provide power for exports. The same year, the nuclear law was modified to establish the JAEC and the Jordan Nuclear Regulatory Commission (JNRC).

In November 2009, the JAEC signed an $11.3m agreement with Australia’s WorleyParsons for the pre-construction consultancy services contract of a 1,000MW nuclear power plant. The firm was appointed to carry out technology selection, prepare tenders and evaluate bidders, in addition to assisting with fuel-cycle engineering and waste management plans for the facility.

The JNRC has approved the country’s first nuclear research reactor.

The 5MW reactor, which will be built at the Jordan University for Sciences & Technology campus near the northern city of Irbid, is scheduled to become operational in 2016.

The Korean Atomic Energy Research Institute and South Korea’s Daewoo Engineering & Construction will construct the facility. The estimated $130m reactor has been largely funded by a $70m soft loan from Seoul.