Russia and Armenia to share nuclear safety information

07 October 2015

Russia and Armenia have signed an intergovernmental agreement on the exchange of information related to nuclear and radiation safety. The agreement was signed yesterday in Yerevan by Sergey Kirienko, director general of Rosatom, and Yervand Zakharyan, Armenia's energy minister.  

The document, which will enable implementation of International Atomic Energy Agency recommendations, determines the conditions of mutual early notification of activities in the peaceful use of nuclear energy in Russia and Armenia, Rosatom said. The two countries will "constantly" exchange information related to nuclear and radiation safety at their respective nuclear facilities.

Russia-Armenia October 2015 - 460 (Rosatom)
Yervand Zakharyan and Sergey Kirienko (Image: Rosatom)

Armenia has one nuclear power reactor, a VVER-440 unit at Metsamor, 30 km from Yerevan, that is due to be withdrawn from service in September 2016. Known as Armenia unit 2, this 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.

Two other documents were also signed in Kirienko and Zakharyan's presence concerning the life extension project for Armenia unit 2.

The first of these was the minutes of the meeting of the first Joint Coordination Committee. These were signed by Kirill Komarov, first deputy director general for corporate development and international business at Rosatom, and Areg Galstyan, Armenia's deputy energy minister. The Joint Coordination Committee was established in March this year for the implementation of a Russian-Armenian intergovernmental agreement on the Armenian nuclear power plant life extension project, which was signed in December 2014.

The second document was an Acceptance Certificate for comprehensive inspection of the systems, structures and components of the unit, and also the preparation of the unit for an extended period of operation.

This was signed by Eugeny Salkov, director general of Rusatom Service, and Movses Vardanyan, acting director general of Armenian NPP.

In July, Armenian Prime Minister Hovik Abrahamyan confirmed a 10-year life extension for the plant and that negotiations are being held on the construction of new nuclear capacity. Galstyan said then that the aim would be for new nuclear capacity to be in operation by 2027.

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