Israel helped Jordan with its nuclear energy program~ reports

[9/24/2012 12:00:00 AM]

AMMONNEWS - 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.

In an interview with Agence France-Presse 10 days ago, 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 realized that Israel was putting pressure on those countries to disrupt any cooperation with us."

The King made similar claims in an interview with The Wall Street Journal two years ago. But after a round of quiet diplomacy, Israel thought the matter had been settled. So Abdullah's latest accusation - made on the eve of last week's International Atomic Energy Agency conference in Vienna - surprised and angered Israeli nuclear officials, the Newspaper reported.

During the conference, several representatives of Western countries asked the Israeli delegation about King Abdullah's accusation. "The Americans and the French knew the Jordanian claims were wrong, but there were more than a few other countries that asked us what we want from the Jordanians," said David Danieli, deputy director of the Israel Atomic Energy Commission.

Due to these inquiries, the Israeli delegation 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.

Since the proposed program highlighted years ago, environmental activists protested the project’s risks and hazards it posed to local communities, demanding abrogation of the project and introduction of clean energy sources, mainly renewable solar and wind energy.

copy right for