AMMAN - French nuclear giant Areva said on Tuesday it has discovered more than 20,000 tonnes of uranium in Jordan, which is trying to develop atomic energy to meet its growing needs.
"Last year, Areva discovered reserves of 12,300 tonnes of uranium in central Jordan. Further exploration proved that the same area contained more than 20,000 tonnes of uranium," state-run Petra news agency quoted the company as saying in a statement.
"At this important stage, we will start conducting feasibility and technical studies about uranium mining," the statement said.
"These reserves are strategic, helping Jordan produce nuclear fuel for the nuclear energy plants that it seeks to build."
Jordan, which imports 95 percent of its energy needs, is currently struggling to find alternatives to unstable Egyptian gas supplies, which normally cover 80 percent of the kingdom's power production.
Since 2011, the pipeline supplying gas from Egypt to both Israel and Jordan has been attacked 14 times.
With desert covering 92 percent of its territory, Jordan is one of the world's 10 driest countries and wants to use atomic energy to fire desalination plants to overcome its dire water shortage.
A consortium formed by Areva and Japan's Mitsubishi is competing with Russia's Atomstroyexport to build Jordan first nuclear plant.