Jun 21 2012
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Jordan to host 'regional nuclear laboratory'
AMMAN -- Jordan's Chemical and Physical Analysis Laboratory (CPAL) has been accredited by the International Laboratory Accreditation Cooperation, which energy officials say paves the way for its transformation into a regional training centre for nuclear science.
The envisioned facility, to be established with the assistance of the International Atomic Energy Agency and the Arab Atomic Energy Agency, will serve as a "training ground" for Arab students and researchers in nuclear engineering and physics, according to a statement from the Jordan Atomic Energy Commission (JAEC).
It will also provide consultation services to emerging nuclear programmes across the region, the statement added, noting that the accreditation licenses CPAL to test for several nuclear and radioactive elements and is a critical step in turning it into a major nuclear research laboratory.
The JAEC has already established a nuclear engineering programme at the Jordan University of Science and Technology in Ramtha -- which is expected to host Jordan's first nuclear research reactor by 2016 -- and plans to establish a "centre of excellence" at the University of Jordan to provide advanced training to future employees of the Kingdom's nuclear energy programme.
Amid the JAEC's drive to establish Jordan as a training hub, environmentalists and anti-nuclear activists have called into question the commission's ability to develop qualified staff ahead of the construction of the country's first nuclear reactor, which is scheduled to come online by 2020.
Officials have identified nuclear energy as key to securing the energy independence of Jordan, which imports 98 per cent of its energy needs at a cost of 25 per cent of its gross domestic product.
© Jordan Times 2012
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