Senate energy committee visits SESAME

A delegation representing the Senate Energy and Mineral Resources Committee headed by its chairman Hisham al-Khatib on Tuesday visited Synchrotron-Light for Experimental Science and Applications in the Middle East (SESAME).

The senators toured the research facility and listened to a briefing from Chairman of The Jordan Atomic Energy Commission, Dr. Khaled Toukan, on the construction phases and operation mechanism.

Toukan said the SESAME, a third-generation optical accelerator located in the Alan district of Balqa Governorate, will contribute to advancing scientific research in the fields of medicine, pharmacy, physics, chemistry, biology, and materials science.

He highlighted the political, technical and financial challenges faced by the team working on the project, and said this remarkable achievement was made thanks to supporters in Jordan and around the world.

He explained the mechanism of converting energy into synchrotron light by accelerating the electrons to a speed approaching the speed of light, and said this technology has scientific applications, which also eyes to exchange research efforts and to promote science in the region.

Jordan was picked to host the SESAME from among the five countries that tabled bids and started work in 2003 after signing the relevant agreement to join the center with the rest of the member countries under the umbrella of the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO).

He explained the SESAME operates three nuclear accelerators in which electrons are accelerated to a capacity of 2.5 billion electron volts, and resulting in a very intense light, synchrotron.

The SESAME was built at a cost of more than $100 million and the member states paid a high stake of this amount, in addition to the support provided by the European Union and some European countries, such as Germany, Italy, France and Britain.

Jordan had allocated a plot of land for the establishment of the center, as well as a $10 million financial contribution to build the accelerators.

Toukan pointed out the monthly bill for electricity in the center surpassed 180 thousand dinars, and said work is underway for the construction of a solar power plant to reduce this cost.

He added that Euros 1.5 million is allocated to build SESAME support facilities as a grant from the Italian government.

Source: Jordan News Agency