Armenia confirms ongoing role for nuclear

23 July 2015

Armenia's prime minister has confirmed a 10-year life extension of the country's only operating nuclear power plant and that negotiations are being held on the construction of new nuclear capacity.

Prime Minister Hovik Abrahamyan made his comments in a presentation on the country's long-term energy strategy to a meeting attended by government officials, lawmakers, stakeholder groups, ambassadors, NGOs and international financial institutions.

"In order to maintain the current level of energy security in the country, the Republic of Armenia will continue to develop nuclear energy," Abrahamyan said. He confirmed that a "relevant financial agreement" for the life extension of Armenia's nuclear power plant at Metsamor had been ratified by the country's National Assembly. Negotiations were also being held with potential investors over the construction of a new nuclear power plant, Abrahamyan said.

Deputy energy minister Areg Galstyan said that the aim would be for new nuclear capacity to be in operation by 2027.

Abrahamyan also outlined a strategic 20-year energy investment program featuring the development of diversified capacities including the construction of renewable energy and regional integration-oriented infrastructure. The program has been drawn up with assistance from the US Agency for International Development.

The Metsamor unit, known as Armenia unit 2, currently supplies over 30% of the country's electricity. It is the second of two Russian-built 376 MWe VVER reactors at the site which started operating in 1976 and 1980 respectively. Both units were taken off line in 1988 due to safety concerns regarding seismic vulnerability, although they both continued to operate and had not sustained any damage in a major earthquake in the region earlier that year. Unit 2 was restarted in 1995, and is subject to ongoing safety improvements. Unit 1 is now being decommissioned.

In May, Armenia's Arka news agency reported that the National Assembly had approved two agreements with Russia aimed at extending Metsamor's operating life to 2026, with Russia lending $270 million to Armenia and providing $30million as a grant. The loan will have a term of 15 years, with a five-year grace period, and be set at a 3% annual interest rate.

Researched and written
by World Nuclear News