20.4.07

Jordan goes nuclear

Just search Google for "water impoverished" and the first entry will be about Jordan, we are one of the ten most water impoverished countries in the world. It seems about right, at least to me. When I searched for cancer rates in Jordan, I found out that our rates are lower than the west, and are comparable to non-Jewish populations of Israel, with the Jewish population being slightly higher.

Many people claim that Jordan has one of the highest cancer rates in the world, it is simply not true, although lung cancer is higher because of higher smoking rates and less emission standards. Still we have the highest Life expectancy at birth in the Arab world. I am, however, not excited. Jordan plans on acquiring nuclear power for peaceful uses.

The most important uses will be, water and electric power generation. We need it for both, since 95% of our power needs are imported. The Uranium reserves in Jordan are high and the expertise in the field locally are acceptable.

I however can't seem to understand why I am troubled by this Idea, although I have spoken for it in the past and all the way until last year. It is definitely going to decrease our dependence on foreign oil and our Carbon emissions.

Jordan will not be told to open up like Iran, we started with the blessings of the US and the IAEA, we will never face any threats because of it, and we can probably sell electricity to Iraq and continue on our age old tradition of exporting expertise.

The money spent isn't what bothers me either, our budget is sucked up by demand on foreign oil and the ever increasing prices, while our we could potentially export Uranium in the future. Still I can't seem to put my finger on it, I am bugged by the idea.

I was probably hoping for windmill farms and solar fields for generation of electricity, yet still I am contended that we can't afford such a costly venture. My major source of concern is the following:

1-Chernobyl-like accidents: we all know that Jordan has impeccable adherence to standards in it's big ventures. Royal Jordanian boasts a 28 year fatality-injury free record. Still one mistake in our nuclear power plant will cause consequences we can't afford.

2-Testing and control: Since this seems to be a government-run project, I don't see it being as controlled and inspected as the private-run ones we are comparing to abroad when we discuss this. This can obviously lead us to no.1 above

3-Decommissioning a nuclear power station at the end of its useful life is very difficult and expensive.

4-Most importantly, in the Middle East, any war time attack of a facility like this will would produce a huge amount of radioactive contamination. It will be tempting to the terrorists who already roam aimlessly in our region.

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