YEREVAN (Noyan Tapan)–There is growing concern among Armenian environmental organizations over the construction of a nuclear waste depository for the Armenian Nuclear Power Plant at Metzamor. During a recent round table organized by the Environmental Public Advocacy Center environmentalists highlighted the need for experts to decide whether the construction should proceed or not. Construction began last year without the approval of the Ministry of the Environment.
Artur Arakelian–chief of the ministry’s environmental department–says the project was to have been submitted for approval before construction began. However–the relevant documen’s were submitted only a month ago and they only addressed the safety aspect of the depository. Arakelian says the project should be subject to broader examination. So the documen’s have now been sent to the National Academy of Sciences of Armenia–the Health Ministry and the Yerevan Institute of Physics. Although the deadline can be extended–a decision is anticipated in four months time.
An ANPP representative recently confirmed that the construction couldn’t be halted under the existing agreement with France. However–he vowed that the depository would not be put into operation unless the Ministry of Nature Protection approved it.