Iraq discusses building nuclear reactor


Iraq’s Prime Minister, Mohammed Shia Al-Sudani, led a high-level assembly of the Ministerial Council for National Security, focusing on pressing security updates, crucial challenges, and the potential employment of nuclear energy to bolster the nation’s power supply.

Yahya Rasool, spokesperson for the Commander-in-Chief of the Iraqi Armed Forces, affirmed that the meeting delved into plans for a nuclear reactor with peaceful intentions.

Rasool took to his official X account, previously known as Twitter, to elaborate that harnessing nuclear energy for electricity would mitigate dependence on traditional sources like gas and oil. This shift is expected to positively influence the long-term stability of Iraq’s electrical grid.

Rasool disclosed that key attendees at the session included the Ministers of Higher Education, Scientific Research, and Electricity, alongside a specialized technical committee dedicated to nuclear energy matters. The discussion aimed to address technical feasibility, safety considerations, and potential partnerships in this ambitious endeavor.

Back in October 2022, Kamal Hussein Latif, head of the Iraqi Radioactive Sources Regulatory Authority (IRSRA), had to postpone the launch of Iraq’s inaugural nuclear power plant project due to a governmental transition delay. Latif clarified that numerous nations had shown a willingness to support Iraq in constructing nuclear reactors. These reactors are seen as essential to addressing Iraq’s recurrent power disruptions.

The necessity for nuclear power plants in Iraq emerged from the country’s frequent power shortages. The blueprint envisions a state-of-the-art facility that would cater to the escalating demand for electricity.

In 2021, the Rosatom State Nuclear Energy Corporation, a prominent player in nuclear fuel production and technology, signaled its intent to explore collaboration prospects with Iraq in this critical domain.

Notably, Iraq had previously operated nuclear power reactors during Saddam Hussein’s regime, but these installations were razed nearly three decades ago. The main research site in Tuwaitha, situated south of Baghdad, housed three reactors, all of which suffered destruction. An Israeli airstrike in 1981 annihilated one, while the other two fell victim to US strikes during the 1991 Gulf War, triggered by Iraq’s incursion into Kuwait the preceding year.

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