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French Version

Jordan eyes nuclear energy

Jordan could become the latest country in the region to turn its attention to nuclear power, according to the chairwoman of the United Kingdom Atomic Energy Authority (UKAEA).

In an exclusive interview with Arabian Business, Lady Barbara Thomas Judge also predicted that the GCC’s first nuclear plant would be operational within the next 20 years.

Citing the fact that Jordan “doesn’t have a lot of energy”, Lady Judge tipped the Arab state to become the next Middle Eastern nation to focus on atomic power. Highlighting the many benefits of the controversial power source to the region, Lady Judge—a keynote speaker at the CEO Middle East forum in Doha—also said: “Even here [in the Middle East] where there is plenty of oil and gas there are people saying that it will run out, and some of the Gulf states don’t have any, some have lots, so we believe that it’s an alternative source of energy that must be considered.
“If you don’t start planning for it now, you don’t have it when you need it—the reason I think it might be interesting in the Gulf is because you have a lot of oil and gas now so it’s a solution for later,” she added

Last December the GCC states announced that they had ordered a study into a possible joint civil atomic program, with Russia reported to be interested in helping Saudi Arabia with its atomic energy development.

According to Lady Judge, the only place in the world where a new nuclear site is presently being developed is Finland, while China, India, Turkey and Egypt have all ordered nuclear plants.
Asked how long it would take to develop nuclear plants in the region, Lady Judge said: “The shortest people talk about is five to seven years, the longest is 15 years, so it’s not a tomorrow solution [but] I think within the next twenty years we’ll see a nuclear plant in the GCC.”

Established in 1954, UKAEA initially lead the development of civil nuclear energy in the UK. Today, under contract to the UK’s Nuclear Decommissioning Authority (NDA), UKAEA is mainly involved in the decommissioning of the UK’s old nuclear plants.

As well as her role at UKAEA, Lady Judge is chairwoman of the School of Oriental and African Studies (University of London), deputy chairwoman of Friends Provident Plc and of the Financial Reporting Council.

Marseille,03 19 2007
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