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Tuesday, September 25, 2012

Israel says it has helped Jordan's nuclear power program

Two weeks ago, King Abdullah of Jordan claimed that Israel was secretly frustrating his plans to build a nuclear power plant for desalination.

"Strong opposition to Jordan's nuclear energy programme is coming from Israel," the king said.

"When we started going down the road of nuclear energy for peaceful purposes, we approached some highly responsible countries to work with us. And pretty soon we realised that Israel was putting pressure on those countries to disrupt any cooperation with us."
Israel seems to have proven that the king is not being very truthful:
Israel has provided the Kingdom with material assistance to build Jordan's civilian nuclear energy program, Israeli daily Haaretz reported on Sunday.

Israeli official statements to the newspaper came after King Abdullah accused Israel of thwarting Jordan's nuclear program, saying it has not intervened and has even provided the Kingdom with material assistance.

...The Israeli delegation [at a regional conference] decided it needed to respond officially. So a paragraph on the subject was added to the speech that Shaul Chorev, head of the IAEC, delivered at the conference: "With regards to Jordan's civilian nuclear program, I wish to emphasize that Israel supports the use of nuclear power by its neighbors, to meet their energy and water needs," he said.

"Israel believes in the peaceful use of nuclear energy in the Middle East, as long as states fully honor their international nonproliferation obligations," he continued. "As for the selection of Jordan's nuclear power site, Israel also provided comprehensive geological data to the Kingdom upon its request."

Danieli said on Saturday that Jordan officially informed Israel in 2010 that it was considering building a nuclear power plant near Aqaba, both to produce electricity and to help it desalinate water. It then asked Israel for geological data about the area, which Israel supplied.

"We told them we had a lot of data from the Geophysical Institute, which did a comprehensive study of the Eilat region and the Gulf of Aqaba as part of its preparations for the possibility of an earthquake, and we gave them all the material," Danieli said. "The material we sent, together with other considerations on the Jordanians' part, caused them to change their minds and move the reactor site from Aqaba to the area north of Amman.