A senior Jordanian official said his nation would consider developing a "peaceful" nuclear-energy program as a "strategic option," the Jerusalem Post reports.
Mohammad al-Momani, Jordan's minister of state for media affairs, said the government is now importing roughly 97 percent of its energy requirements at a cost of about $4 billion. Officials are interested in atomic power as part of a bid to develop more domestic energy sources, the Post reported, citing a Wednesday report in the Jordanian newspaper Ad-Dustour.
Jordan and Saudi Arabia on Wednesday inked a nuclear-trade pact in Amman, according to the report. The deal would allow the two sides to cooperate on the development of peaceful atomic energy.
Both of these Middle Eastern nations are concerned about neighboring Iran's efforts to develop civil nuclear power as a possible foothold in building a bomb, despite Tehran's insistence that its intentions are peaceful. This consideration may affect decisions in Amman and Riyadh regarding whether and how to pursue atomic-energy programs of their own.
The U.S. government has discussed with Jordan the possibility of sealing a bilateral civil nuclear-cooperation agreement. However, talks have been on hold for some time because of instability in the region, among other potential challenges, according to Washington officials.
Momani said that his nation still has not formally decided whether to build a nuclear reactor, but the idea remains under consideration.
This article was published in Global Security Newswire, which is produced independently by National Journal Group under contract with the Nuclear Threat Initiative. NTI is a nonprofit, nonpartisan group working to reduce global threats from nuclear, biological, and chemical weapons.