Rosatom intends to add Jordan to customer list and cement dominance

Rosatom intends to add Jordan to customer list and cement dominance
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Rosatom is negotiating with Jordan reviving a deal on the construction of a nuclear power plant in the kingdom, Reuters reported on July 11 referring to Deputy Director General of the Russian state corporation.

As the news agency notes, Rosatom intends to add one more country to the list of its customers. The state corporation has become an undisputed leader in the world nuclear industry after two of its largest rivals, Areva and Westinghouse, faced financial difficulties, Reuters says. Moreover, Rosatom has experience in the construction of NPPs in countries that do not have a tradition in the field of atomic energy.

In 2015, Russia signed an intergovernmental agreement with this Middle Eastern country to build a $10 billion facility there. But little has changed since then, the agency notes. Kirill Komarov, Deputy Director General of Rosatom, told Reuters that negotiations on technical and financial issues are still underway.

“The Jordan deal was definitely not scrapped. Maybe we need some more time with our Jordanian colleagues,” Komarov said. He added that Jordan was a difficult place for nuclear energy, since much of the country is actually a desert, whereas a reactor requires a lot of water for cooling. According to Komarov, one of the options under consideration involves the construction of a smaller reactor than initially planned. This is a so-called “small modular reactor”.

Experts argue that the main pitfall in the tender, which was won by Rosatom, was the difference in opinion between Jordan and the Russian state corporation about how the project should be funded, Reuters reports. As the agency was told by a high-ranking source in the Jordanian Atomic Energy Commission, the original project was suspended and now both sides are studying the possibility of building a small modular reactor.

What about rival companies?

Eight years ago, the French company Areva also worked in Jordan, but then it faced financial problems and needed a government bailout. Another major Western company engaged in the construction of nuclear facilities is the U.S. Westinghouse, which has been in bankruptcy for more than a year, something that makes it harder for the company to receive contracts abroad. According to experts, the most serious challenge to Rosatom's business in the coming years is likely to come from Russia's eastern neighbor, China.