Tractebel Engineering is to investigate the proposed site for Jordan’s first nuclear power plant after the country’s nuclear power authorities awarded a site study contract to the Belgian firm.

Under a contract announced 12 September by the Jordan Atomic Energy Commission (JAEC), Tractebel will undertake a 2 year-long study of the site near Aqaba. The contract has been valued at $12 million and was signed in Jordan by JAEC Chairman Khaled Toukan and Tractebel CEO Georges Cornet.

The project will be carried out by Tractebel in conjunction with its consortium partners, Jordan’s Arab Consultants Bureau and France’s Bureau Veritas, and will pave the way for two further reports assessing the environmental and safety impacts of the proposed nuclear power plant. JAEC is “exercising extra effort and transparency in adopting best practices to decide the safest and most secure location” for the plant, according to Toukan.

The studies will cover public health, safety and security issues and will also involve specialized surveys to assess geological stability, geo-physics, soil characteristics, water proximity and cooling water requirements, risk assessment, electricity grid connectivity, environmental and health impact, and natural and human induced events. Tractebel was one of seven companies that submitted bids for the contract.