40 years after Israeli strike, Iraq seeks to build nuclear reactors

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Some 40 years after the Israeli airstrike on Saddam Hussein’s nuclear reactor, Iraq is expressing interest in building eight nuclear reactors to meet the growing demand for energy in the country.

Kamal Hussain Latif, chairman of the Iraqi Radioactive Sources Regulatory Authority, told Russia’s state-run Sputnik news agency on Tuesday that Iraq plans to build eight nuclear reactors to provide 25 percent of the country’s electricity by 2030 Latif acknowledged that it may take longer to complete the eight reactors and that the number may change.

Latif confirmed that Russian state-owned company Rosatom will implement the nuclear reactor construction project. Iraq plans to seek $ 40 billion in loans to complete the project.

South Korea has also offered to help build the power plants and even offered the Iraqis a tour of reactors in the United Arab Emirates run by the Korea Electric Power Corp., according to Bloomberg magazine.

Iraqi officials announced in May that they were considering 20 possible locations for the planned nuclear reactors.

In April, the Iraqi Radioactive Sources Regulatory Authority announced that it had reached agreements with three countries to speed up construction of nuclear reactors in Iraq.

Latif told the Iraqi News Agency in April that Iraqi officials had met with Russian and French officials to discuss “the peaceful use of nuclear energy” and for medical and industrial purposes. Last year, five countries were confirmed as candidates for building new reactors, including the United States, Russia, Argentina, South Korea and France.

Plans to build nuclear reactors come as Iraq suffers from frequent blackouts and fears it will not be able to meet demand in the coming years, which is expected to reach 42 gigawatts by 2030.

The plans also come amid growing concerns over Iran’s nuclear ambitions, as it announced on Tuesday that it had manufactured 6.5kg of uranium enriched up to 60%, coming even closer to a little more of the military grade material. A number of large Iranian-backed militias are operating in Iraq.

In an operation on June 7, 1981, the Israeli Air Force destroyed the Iraqi nuclear reactor at Osirak, which was being built by the Hussein regime, in an operation involving fighter jets. F-15 and F-16.



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