ArmInfo. President of Armenia Serzh Sargsyan visited the Armenian Nuclear Power Plant on January 23. The President toured the Plant, familiarized with the current activities and the results of the last year's economic production as well as with the progress of the first phase of the measures aimed at the extension of the operation cycle of the second power generating unit, the president's press-office reports.
The leadership of the power plant reported to Serzh Sargsyan about the progress in the first phase of the measures to extend the operation cycle of the second power generating unit for another ten years. The credits and grants for the implementation of these activities have been provided by the Government of the Russian Federation. The President was informed that overall tests of the systems, apparatus and structures have been launched and will be concluded in September, 2016. Afterwards, a decision will be made on the extension of the operation cycle of the second power generating unit.
According to the management of the Armenian Nuclear Power Plant, basing on the results of the tests, a second phase of the measures will be launched to replace the plant's equipment and apparatus to upgrade the safety of the NPP.
On October 27 2015, Armenia's President Serzh Sargsyan addressed the 14th Session of the Presidential Council for Nuclear Energy Safety saying the Program for extension of the service life of the Armenian NPP unit-2 will be implemented in two stages. According to the President, at the first stage an integrated research program for systems, equipment, components and structures of the NPP will be conducted. At the second stage, necessary replacement of and upgrade for obtaining a license for operation within additional deadline, and measures to raise the safety level of the Armenian NPP, including the ones suggested in the report based on stress test under technical support of the European commission are planned. "We hope despite short deadlines Russian specialists with active involvement of Armenian specialists will implement the whole amount of work on time and with high quality", Armenian President noted, recalling that on October 7, this year, the first session of the joint coordination committee to extend the operation of unit-2 of the Armenian NPP was held. Within the framework of this session, the governments of Armenia and Russian Federation signed an agreement on rapid notification about nuclear accident and information exchange in nuclear and radiation safety. As the Armenia's President emphasized, in accordance with government decree of July 31, 2014 on the approval of the action plan for 2014-2020, the commission date of the new nuclear unit is synchronized with the decommissioning date of the operating unit. "Thus Armenia confirms its intention to develop nuclear energy and this domain occupies a key position in energy development program", Serzh Sargsyan said.
In December 2014, and February 2015 the governments of the Republic of Armenia and Russian Federation signed agreements on cooperation in the project for extension of operation of unit-2 and extension of a state export loan to the government of the Republic of Armenia. Both agreements have come into force and the work has commenced.
To note, the Armenian NPP, the only NPP in the region, is located near the town of Metsamor (some 30km to the south of Yerevan). The first unit was put into exploitation in 1976, the second in 1980. At the beginning of 1989, the plant was closed down for political ideas, and then the second unit was reactivated because of acute energy crisis at the beginning of 1995. Two power units of Russian model pressurized water reactor- 440, with capacity of 815 megawatt in total were installed at the Armenian NPP. Experts say the Plant will be able to operate till 2016. At present measures are being taken to prolong the lifespan of the Armenian NPP till 2027. Last year Armenia and Russia signed in Moscow an agreement implying provision of 270 mln USD loan to Armenia for 15 years at 3% p.a. In addition, Russia will grant 30 mln USD to Armenia for the same purposes.