March 27, 2014 - 16:51 AMT
PanARMENIAN.Net - The government decreed to extend the operation term of the Armenian nuclear power plant till 2016, with the Ministry of Finance instructed to sign a crediting deal with Russia by May 1. Works for a new nuclear power unit construction will also be activated, according to Armenia Today.
As Minister of Energy and Natural Resources Armen Movsisyan noted in this context, the government’s policy line of boosting the NPP’s safety and building a new power unit remains unchanged.
At the two-day nuclear security summit that ended in the Hague on March 25, Armenian President Serzh Sargsyan said that international organizations do not see any danger in the activities of the Armenian Nuclear Power Plant, Armenia Now reported.
Earlier at the summit, President of Azerbaijan Ilham Aliyev called for the station in Metsamor to be closed, dubbing it a source of threat for the region.
“Today the president of Azerbaijan raised the Armenian Metsamor nuclear power plant safety issue. I would like to note that we closely cooperate with the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) in ensuring the safety of Armenian nuclear power plant via consistent implementation of the requirements set by the Agency’s technical document 640. The results of the OSART mission attest to that. What refers to the voiced rumors suggesting we had troubles related to radioactive waste, such a lie is first and foremost a demonstration of non-confidence towards international structures, since we coordinate all our programs with the IAEA,” Sargsyan said.
In November 2013, the nuclear safety council secretary Vahram Petrosyan stated that Russia will provide a loan to reequip Armenian nuclear power plant, with the loan size yet to be discussed.
As Russian leader Vladimir Putin made stated on September 3, after negotiations with President Sargsyan, Rosatom, jointly with Armenian experts, will work over extension of the existing unit lifetime for another 10 years until 2026.
Prime Minister Tigran Sargsyan said earlier that at least $150 million are necessary for completion of the works on lifetime extension.
In early November, President Sargsyan met with the chairman of the presidential Nuclear Energy Safety Council (NESC), Adolf Birkhofer, who arrived in Armenia to participate in the regular session of the NESC.
The President of Armenia and Chairman of NESC spoke about planned works aimed at the enhancement of the security level of the Metsamor nuclear power plant and its current state. In that regard, the parties stated that the Metsamor plant has the necessary projected level of seismic stability. Serzh Sarkisian and Adolf Birkhofer also spoke about issues related to the future operation of the plant, the construction of a new energy unit, and cooperation with the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA), including the results of the OSART mission.
Armenian NPP is located in Metsamor, some 30 kilometers south of Yerevan. It was commissioned in 1976, but was closed following a devastating earthquake in 1988. One of its two VVER 440 reactors was reactivated in 1995 due to acute power crisis in Armenia. At present, only the second reactor with capacity of 407.5megawatt is in operation.