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There are no operating commercial nuclear power plants in the Middle East. Iran's Bushehr plant could come online soon if the Israelis do not bomb it. India has 8 commercial nuclear plants and India has 8 commercial nuclear power plants.

The Kingdom of Jordan wants to build nuclear power plants and is negotiating a nuclear-cooperation agreement that would allow American firms to export nuclear components and know-how. The U.S. is demanding that Jordan not produce its own nuclear fuel. Jordan is allowed to produce its own nuclear fuel as a signatory to the United Nations Nonproliferation Treaty (NPT) and is reluctant to surrender that right. Jordan recently discovered big deposits of uranium ore. The discovery outside of Amman was made in 2007 and the deposit is estimated to be at least 65,000 tons of uranium ore.

Jordan is 95% dependent on imported oil and has among the world's smallest reserves of potable water. The Center promotes utilizing commercial nuclear power for desalination. Jordan hopes to use its projected four nuclear power plants to begin exporting electricity to neighbors including Iraq and Syria by 2030 and to commercially mine and export uranium. The Jordan Atomic Energy Commission is located in Amman, the capital of Jordan.

Jordan's King Abdulla
The U.S. prefers that Jordan would not process any nuclear fuel itself, but could still produce and export electricity by buying the fuel for its reactors on the international market. U.S. officials argue if Jordan doesn't surrender its rights to produce fuel, it raises proliferation risks. Countries with the complete nuclear fuel cycle—from mining uranium to processing it into fuel—can convert their civilian plants for military applications. Such fears could hamstring Washington's ability to win necessary Congressional approval for a nuclear cooperation agreement with Jordan. Last year, Congress approved a similar deal with the United Arab Emirates only after the country agreed to buy its nuclear fuel overseas. Under terms of the U.S. agreement, Jordan could mine the ore but not convert it into fuel for nuclear power. Jordan could pursue its nuclear ambitions without the U.S., but would face steep diplomatic and financial hurdles.

The U.S. is a member of the Nuclear Suppliers Group, a Vienna-based body aimed at controlling the flow of nuclear technologies internationally. Many reactors from France, Japan and Canada contain significant U.S. components and would require Washington's approval for a sale. (WSJ, 6/12/2010, Power Plants Around the World)