Iraq wants to build eight nuclear reactors by 2030

Iraq, which is suffering from a chronic power shortage, wants to build eight nuclear reactors by 2030 to reduce its external energy dependence, AFP reported, citing an official.

The country currently uses imports of electricity and gas from neighboring Iran to generate about a third of its electricity. “By 2030-2031, we want to generate 25 percent of our electricity needs through nuclear energy,” Kamal Latif, head of the Iraqi Radioactive Regulators Authority, told AFP.

Nuclear energy “is cheaper and more accessible every day of the year, as opposed to solar or other renewable energy,” he added.

Latif said negotiations currently under way with “Russian, Korean, Chinese, American and French” companies could lead to a “signing” of a deal by the end of the year.

He declined to comment on reports that the new reactors cost $ 40 billion, saying only that Iraq would negotiate payment mechanisms for “over 20 years, with the possibility of low-interest loans.”

Russia’s Rosatom, quoted by TASS, said it was discussing with Iraq “the entire program for possible co-operation in the energy and non-energy applications of nuclear technology for peaceful purposes.”

Experts believe that instead of relying on nuclear power plants, Iraq should upgrade its infrastructure, as it loses 30 to 50 percent of its energy during transmission due to outdated circuits.

Iraq, the second-largest producer in the OPEC oil cartel, has already announced a multi-year plan to capture natural gas, which is currently burning. To upgrade its energy infrastructure, Iraq has signed memoranda of understanding with Germany’s Siemens and US General Electric, but projects have not yet begun.