Rosatom has signed a project development agreement with Jordan Atomic Energy Commission to build a nuclear power plant in the Zarqa province of Jordan.

The two-unit nuclear project is expected to have a total capacity of 2,000MW.

The project phase, which has now commenced, will lead to a contract for the plant construction.

The construction contract of the plant is expected to be signed in around 18 to 24 months.

The contract, which was signed at IAEA session in Vienna by Rusatom Overseas CEO Dzhomart Aliev and Jordan Atomic Energy Commission chairman Khaled Toukan, sets out the obligations for both the parties involved.

Toukan said: "The agreement provides for design of the water cooling system, feasibility study, oversight of the site evaluation process, and environmental impact assessment. These activities have to be completed in the period of 24 up to 30 months and they are fully paid for by the Jordanian Government.

"Rusatom Overseas can participate in other studies as well, but these four [activities] can be carried out by Russian specialists only, because they possess the technology."

"The Jordanian Government has decided to finance the plant by making it open for investors, including those from other countries."

Rosatom CEO Sergey Kirienko said: "It is not a separate preliminary stage; these are the works which must be carried out in any case when any nuclear power plant is built. I consider it a great achievement that the Russian and Jordanian specialists together have found a very good site to build the nuclear power plant which features low seismic impact and good geology.

"The Government of Jordan has managed to find a solution for the plant water supply. We have made analysis and can confirm that this is an absolutely feasible water supply solution."

Kirienko added that the Jordanian Government has made a sound and up-to-date decision on financing of the plant by making it open for investors, including those from other countries.

"We are also ready to participate as an investor, not only as an engineering company. But we do not seek the controlling stake; we stick to the fact that it is a Jordanian plant and it must be controlled by Jordan," Kirienko added.

Recently, South Africa signed a $10bn nuclear power cooperation agreement with Russia for the construction of up to 9.6GW of nuclear facilities based on Russian technology.