Iraq plans nuclear power plants to tackle power shortage

TEHRAN, Jun. 09 (MNA) – Iraqi officials have said that the country seeks to build eight nuclear reactors to tackle a crippling power shortage in the oil-rich economy.

Iraq seeks to build eight reactors capable of producing about 11 gigawatts, Aljazeera quoted Kamal Hussain Latif, chairman of the Iraqi Radioactive Sources Regulatory Authority as saying on Tuesday.

The Iraqi official said that his country would seek funding from prospective partners for the $40 billion plan and pay back the costs over 20 years, adding that the authority had discussed cooperation with Russian and South Korean officials.

Plunging crude prices last year deprived Iraq of funds to maintain and expand its long-neglected electricity system. The resulting outages triggered widespread protests against the incompetence and mismanagement of the government.

Raising financing will be a major task given that Iraq has suffered budgetary crises amid volatile oil prices. Even with crude at about $70 a barrel now, the country is only just balancing its budget, Al-Jazeera report cited the International Monetary Fund's data as pointing out.

South Korean officials this year said they wanted to help build Iraq's planned nuclear plants and offered the Iraqis a tour of reactors in the United Arab Emirates run by Korea Electric Power Corp.

It is noteworthy that Iraq hugely relies on Iran for meeting its domestic need for electricity. The country has always been the main customer for Iranian power exports. Moreover, Iraqi power plants have been relying on gas imports from Iran for their fuel. 

Baghdad owes a lot of money to Iran in terms of its gas and electricity debts amid the US sanctions that prevent Baghdad from paying back its bills to Iran.

There have been reports of promises made by Saudi Arabia and the United States to invest in Iraq's electricity sector neither of which has been fulfilled yet.


News Code 174597


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