The Benefits of Armenian Atomic Energy Development - Rusatom Confirmed the Support of Financial Prolongation
27 Apr, 2019

Development of atomic energy would lessen carbon dioxide emission to the atmosphere and help Armenia become leader on this indicator, Ara Marjanyan, a UN expert in atomic energy in Armenia, said on the sidelines of XI International Forum Atomexpo 2019 that took place in Sochi on 15 & 16 of April where it was the largest exhibition and business platform for discussing the current state of the nuclear industry and setting future trends.


Carbon dioxide emission to the atmosphere is the key cause of greenhouse effect and global warming. The Paris Agreement, signed on December 12, 2015 and joined also by Armenia, came as a drastic step toward the struggle against change of climate.   


The most optimal solution in the struggle against the change of climate is development of renewable energy, particularly solar and wind. However, with all their merits, renewable energy sources have also their disadvantages related to the instability of generation of electric energy caused by weather. 


That is why countries with a great potential of renewable energy development, such as the United Arab Emirates, Egypt, Saudi Arabia and others, are developing their atomic energy as pivot for electric energy generation. 


Peaceful nuclear energy is the only source of energy available 24 hours a day. 

"Today atomic energy not only allows ensuring the country's economic growth, but also lessening CO2 emission," Marjanyan said. "Armenia's nuclear power plant will operate at least before 2026."


In his words, if a mew 600-megawatt energy block is commissioned, carbon dioxide emission will lessen by 2.4 million tons, and this will help Armenia fulfil more than 80% of its commitments.


Armenia faces difficulties in repaying loan to upgrade nuclear power plant:

On 4th of April, Armenia asked Russia to postpone payment of loan for modernization of Armenian NPP, Tigran Melkonyan, the head of the Foreign Relations Department of the Ministry of Energy Infrastructures and Natural Resources of Armenia said.


"I want to raise an issue related to the delay in work with the implementation of the project to extend the lifetime of the Armenian NPP. We identified several reasons, both objective and subjective. For the successful completion of the project, it is necessary to decide on the extension of the loan, as well as to postpone the start of loan repayment, while the only source of annual payments on the loan are funds from the sale of electricity produced by the Armenian NPP", Melkonyan said.


Evgeny Salkov, CEO of Rusatom Service: "We will support the prolongation, since we understand very well that we need to ensure complete solution to these problems." 

Rosatom, a Russian state corporation headquartered in Moscow that specializes in nuclear energy, supports the idea of prolongation of Russia's loan provided for modernization of the Armenian Nuclear Power Plant and extension of its life, Evgeny Salkov, CEO of Rusatom Service, a subsidiary of Rosatom Corporation, which is the general contractor in the repair of the nuclear plant, told Armenian journalists on the sidelines of Armexpo-2019 Forum.    


In his words, the Armenian finance ministry has appealed to Russia for extension of the term set for using the loan to the end of 2021 instead of late 2019, as it was implied earlier. "The matter is being discussed now," Salkov said. "Now a normal dialogue between our countries' financial agencies is under way. Rosatom, on its side, supports the prolongation, since we understand very well that we need to ensure complete solution to these problems."


Salkov confirmed that not the entire amount of the loan is already used. "However, the goal is not to use the whole loan, but the goal is to carry out the whole volume of work, which will allow operating the Armenian Nuclear Power Plant safely till 2028," he said. 


Movses Vardanyan, CEO of the Armenian Nuclear Power Plant, said earlier that contracts totaling $184-million have been signed of the $270 million provided as loan and $30 million as grant. 


Salkov also spoke on the necessity of prolongation of the terms of the loan contract stressing that there are no problems. "The amount decided at the initial stage of the project was intended for one calendar year, but new objectives have appeared in the process, more detailed plans have been worked out, which have shown that we are overstepping the year 2019," he said.


In his words, the work is under way now and everything will be done. "The allocated financial resources are enough for fulfilling the objectives for which the Russian side is responsible," Salkov said. "The remaining things will be done by the Armenian side at its own account and also with the assistance of the European Union, American partners in the implementation of the projects aimed at enhancement of the nuclear plant's security."


Salkov added that the Armenian Nuclear Power Plant is one of the most effective consumers of fuel, and this allows saving financial resources and spend them on enhancement of security.  


Note that 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. 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 provided $270 million to Armenia as a loan and $30 million as a grant.


Sources: Arka.am / AEN

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