Expert Urges Armenian Government to Consider the Future of the Nuclear Power Plant
YEREVAN - The head of an Armenian non-governmental organization dealing with protection of consumers rights, urged today the new government of Armenia to consider the future of the Armenian nuclear power plant in the context of national interests.
Armen Poghosyan, the head of the Union for the Protection of Consumer Rights, told reporters that the future of the facility has not yet been decided, but under the Comprehensive and Enhanced Partnership Agreement - CEPA - signed last November between Armenia and the EU Armenia is required to clearly say when it is going to shut down the plant.
He noted that the EU has repeatedly demanded that Armenia shuts the plant and the latest such demand was conveyed to Armenian authorities just 4 days ago.
Poghosyan praised the previous government for adopting an energy saving plan of actions adding that this plan becomes inadequate and dangerous as it indicates the imminent closure of the nuclear power plant.
"If the issue of the nuclear power plant or alternative sources of electricity is not resolved, then one day Armenia may face the threat of energy collapse," Poghosyan said.
Armenia's Ministry of Energy Infrastructures and Natural Resources neither denied nor confirmed the information that the EU's latest demand came 4 days ago. A spokesperson for the ministry Rimma Yeganyan, said a detailed commentary on this issue will be made on May 25 during the visit of the minister Artur Grigoryan to the nuclear power plant.
The Armenian Nuclear Power Plant is located some 30 kilometers west of Yerevan. It was built in the 1970s but was closed following a devastating earthquake in 1988. One of its two VVER 440-V230 light-water reactors was reactivated in 1995.
Armenian authorities said they would build a new nuclear power plant to replace the aging facility. The new plant was said to operate at twice the capacity of the Soviet-constructed facility. The plant currently generates some 35 percent of Armenia's electricity.
In March 2014, Armenian government decided to extend the plant's service life up to 2026 because of delay in building a new unit. The service life extension has become possible thanks to Russia's financial resources. The country was to provide $270 million to Armenia as loan and $30 million in grants.