EGYPT – Jordan is planning to sign an agreement with Egypt to develop peaceful uses of nuclear energy and uranium production, Khaled Toukan, chairperson of the Jordanian Atomic Energy Commission has revealed.

Toukan, in an interview with Daily News Egypt said that there have been meetings with officials of the Egyptian Atomic Energy Authority and the Nuclear Materials Authority over the past months to exchange experiences and information about the black sand and extracted minerals such as Monazite.

The chair of Jordan’s atomic energy commission also revealed that  Jordan’s uranium reserves are estimated at 100,000 tonnes, adding that the country was focusing on utilising these reserves despite their low concentration.

The proposed agreement with Egypt, includes cooperation in the fields of research and exploration of nuclear ores and exploitation, extraction of uranium from phosphate ores.

It also involves partnerships in usage of nuclear energy to produce electric power, water desalination, and usage of applied researches in the peaceful use of atomic energy using research reactors.

Toukan revealed a study to establish an Arab regional centre for nuclear fuel production, including, Egypt, Jordan and the United Arab Emirates.

He pointed out that the initial estimates for implementing this centre amounted to US$1bn, and was discussed earlier in the Arab League.

He pointed out that Jordan has signed 16 agreements in the field of atomic energy, including a memorandum of understanding with Egypt and an agreement with Saudi Arabia.

A source at the Nuclear Material Authority said that Egypt has a reserve of 300m tonnes of black sand, enough for 20 years exploitation, and contains six important minerals, Almenite, Magnetite, Rotail, Zircon, Garnet, and Monazite.

Jordan has had ambitions of developing nuclear energy for peaceful uses since 2007 and has already inaugurated the 5 MW Jordan Research and Training Reactor.

The country has since entered into partnership agreements with various countries including United States, Canada and Korea to help realize the nuclear energy dream.

Its nuclear ambitions have however been met with strong opposition from environment activist who argue that nuclear power plants would contaminate Jordan’s scarce water supply.