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.
- Mostly broad plains; reedy marshes along Iranian border in south with large
flooded areas; mountains along borders with Iran and Turkey
Climate- Mostly desert; mild to cool winters with dry, hot, cloudless summers; northern
mountainous regions along Iranian and Turkish borders experience cold winters
with occasionally heavy snows that melt in early spring, sometimes causing extensive
flooding in central and southern Iraq
- Strategic location on Shatt al Arab waterway and at the head of the Persian
- 1,015 km note: Shatt al Arab is usually navigable by maritime traffic
for about 130 km; channel has been dredged to 3 m and is in use; Tigris and Euphrates
Rivers have navigable sections for shallow-draft boats; Shatt al Basrah canal
was navigable by shallow-draft craft before closing in 1991 because of the Gulf
Courtesy: The Library of Congress - Country Studies
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