Iraq Table of Contents
Iraqi electric power consumption increased by a factor of fourteen in the twenty-year period between 1968 and 1988, and in the late 1980s it was expected to double every four to five years. Ongoing rural electrification contributed to increased demand; about 7,000 villages throughout the nation were provided electricity in the same twenty-year period. The destruction in 1980 of power-generating facilities near the Iran-Iraq border interrupted only temporarily the rapid growth in production and consumption. In 1981 the government awarded US$2 billion in contracts to foreign construction companies that were building hydroelectric and thermal generating plants as well as transmission facilities. By 1983 the production and consumption of electricity had recovered to the prewar levels of 15.6 billion kwh (kilowatt hours) and 11.7 billion kwh, respectively. As previously commissioned projects continued to come onstream, Iraq's generating capacity was expected to exceed 6,000 megawatts by 1986. In December 1987, following the completion of power lines designed to carry 400 million kwh of power to Turkey, Iraq became the first country in the Middle East to export electric power. Iraq was expected to earn US$15 million annually from this arrangement. Long-range plans entailed exporting an additional 3 billion kwh to Turkey and eventually providing Kuwait with electricity.
Iraq's plans to develop a nuclear generating capacity were set back by Israel's June 1981 bombing of the Osiraq (OsirisIraq ) reactor, then under construction (see The Search for Nuclear Technology , ch. 5). In 1988 French, Italian, and Soviet technicians were exploring the feasibility of rebuilding the reactor at a different site. Saudi Arabia had promised to provide financing, and Brazil and Portugal reportedly had agreed to supply uranium.
Data as of May 1988