The Congressional Research Service, in a report by analyst Jeremy Sharp,
identified several concerns by Washington, Middle East Newsline reported. They included the determination
that Jordan's southern and only coastline was too small for a reactor
The prospect of building a nuclear energy reactor inland would also
present difficulties. Officials cited the challenge of piping and pumping
water to a power plant as well as earthquakes near the Dead Sea.
Already, Israel has warned against a Jordanian nuclear reactor built
near the Dead Sea Rift, an area prone to earthquakes. Israel has asserted
that an earthquake could generate a massive radiation fallout that could
endanger its southern port of Eilat.
So far, Jordan has signed a nuclear accord with Britain, France, Russia
and the United States. Four international companies have been competing for
the contract to build the first energy reactor. They were identified as
South Korea's Korea Electric Power Corp. France's Areva, Atomic Energy of
Canada and Russia's Atomstroyexport.
Officials said Jordan has insisted the right to enrich uranium as part
of its nuclear program. They said Washington has opposed this in a move that
was holding up promises of U.S. funding.
"As such, the Obama administration has continued the Bush administration
approach of seeking to limit the adoption of uranium enrichment technology
among other countries in order to limit the
potential spread of expertise or materials that could be used to build
nuclear weapons," CRS, in a report titled "Jordan: Background and U.S.
Relations," said. "On the other hand, the Jordanian government insists it
has a right to enrich its own domestic uranium resources and officials have
pledged to send uranium-ore deposits abroad for processing into nuclear
At this point, the Obama administration has insisted that Jordan sign
the so-called Section 123 agreement, which would ban uranium enrichment. The
United Arab Emirates has already agreed to this limitation while Jordan was
seeking to draft a compromise.
"Although there is increased understanding of our view, the gap remains
wide, but we are in ongoing talks," an official said. "We still have a long
way ahead of us before reaching an accord."