YEREVAN (Arka)—Modernization of Armenia’s only nuclear power plant in Metsamor will require serious funding, Miroslav Lipar, a representative of the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA), said Wednesday in Yerevan while speaking at the sixth international technical conference on the safe operation of the facility.
In turn, Armenian energy and natural resources minister Yervand Zakaryan thanked the participating countries for their contribution to preserving the operating unit of the plant in technically good condition.
“The Government of Armenia will be grateful to the IAEA and participating countries for the continued implementation of this program in its current format until the decommissioning of the unit in 2026,” said Zakaryan.
The conference is being held in Yerevan on September 3 and 4. The main theme of the conference is coordination of international assistance for the facility. The meeting has brought to Yerevan representatives of the United States, Russia, the Czech Republic, Slovakia, as well as officials from the EU and IAEA.
The Conference is organized by the IAEA together with the Armenian ministry of energy and natural resources.
The first such consultation took place in December 2005 in Vienna, and the previous one was held in October 2011 in Armenia. After that, the facility saw 14 large-scale measures to improve its safety.
Earlier this year the Armenian government reconfirmed its 2012 decision to extend the service life of the nuclear power plant in Metsamor until 2026 ‘because of the delay in the construction of a new nuclear facility.”
On July 4 minister Zakaryan said that Armenia and Russia would soon sign an agreement whereby Russia would provide Armenia with a $300 million loan to that end.
In August Zakaryan said the major repair of the Armenian nuclear power plant estimated to cost around $300 million is scheduled to start in 2017 in order to extend its service life until 2026.
The plant 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 want to replace the aging Metsamor facility with a new plant that is supposed to operate at twice the capacity of the Soviet-constructed facility, generating currently some 40 percent of Armenia’s electricity.
But the government has yet to attract funding for the project that was estimated by a U.S.-funded feasibility study to cost at as much as $5 billion.