Story of 'Operation Opera' all over again: Iraq wants to start a civilian nuclear project

Iraq is seeking to build eight reactors capable of generating about 11 gigawatts, said Kamal Hussain Latif, chairman of the Iraqi Radioactive Sources Regulatory Authority

Photo: IDF Spokesperson's Unit

According to a report by Bloomberg, Iraq has once again decided to start a civilian nuclear project. The project is expected to include eight reactors for generation of electricity. 

According to the report, OPEC's No. 2 oil producer, which is already suffering from a lack of electricity, needs to meet an expected surge of 50% in demand by the end of the decade. The establishment of nuclear reactors may help close the supply gap, although the country will face significant financial and geopolitical challenges in carrying out the plan. 

Iraq seeks to build eight reactors capable of generating about 11 gigawatts, said Kamal Hussain Latif, chairman of the Iraqi Radioactive Sources Regulatory Authority. It will request financing from potential partners for the $40 billion plan and pay back the costs for 20 years, he said, adding that the authority has discussed cooperation with Russian and South Korean officials.  

“We have several forecasts that show that without nuclear power by 2030, we will be in big trouble,” Latif said in an interview at his office in Baghdad. Not only is there the power shortage and surge in demand to deal with, but Iraq is also trying to reduce emissions and produce more water via desalination, "issues that raise the alarm for me."

The Iraqi initiative is one of a number of such initiatives in the Middle East, such as ones by Egypt, Turkey, Abu Dhabi, Jordan and Saudi Arabia. It should be mentioned that about 40 years ago, Saddam Hussein claimed that the Osirak program was aimed at generating electricity.  

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