Plans for 1,000MW new nuclear plant unreasonable, says Armenian expert

By bne IntelliNews June 19, 2015

The construction of a new 1,000MW nuclear plant is “unreasonable”, Arka news agency reported on June 18 quoting the head of country’s State Nuclear Safety Committee, Ashot Martirosyan. The construction of the new plant can pose a threat to the country’s entire power supply system, he said, and poses economic problems as an estimated price tag is set at $5bn.

Authorities of natural resources-deficient Armenia have been looking into securing funding for a new nuclear plant to replace Metsamor, the Soviet-era nuclear facility which supplies about 40% of the country’s power demand.

The government has so far failed to find $5bn needed and managed to extend the life of Metsamor until 2026, despite international experts warning against potential threats the old plant poses.

“The nuclear power plant life extension to 2026 will give us additional time – new projects of construction of mid-productivity reactors may appear during that time,” Martirosyan is quoted as saying.

Metsamor, about 30km west of Yerevan, was built in the 1970s but it was closed following a devastating earthquake in 1988. One reactor was controversially re-opened in 1995 and the plant now operates only one 407.5MW unit.

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