ArmInfo. The major part of Armenian population shows a positive attitude to nuclear power engineering, Armenian sociologist Aharon Adibekyan has told an ArmInfo correspondent.
Not long ago, he says, a EU project related to nuclear power engineering in Armenia was implemented and it aimed to reveal the population's attitude to this sector. Armenia is a country that exploits a nuclear power plant. So, the EU's attitude towards the given project, especially in the context of the stress tests conducted by the European Commission is clear. Notwithstanding the safety of the Armenian Nuclear Power Plant - which is proved by the fact that no single incident has been registered at the Plant so far - the stress tests are conducted on a regular basis, given the concern of the neighboring countries - Georgia and Azerbaijan, as well as the concern of the European Union. In particular, it was important to reveal the public attitude towards the prospects of Armenia's nuclear power engineering. The preparations for the public opinion poll and the poll itself lasted for quite a long period of time. The survey demonstrated that only 1/4 of the respondents are concerned over the safety condition of the ANPP. The matter concerns the people living in the communities adjacent to the ANPP. The number of pessimistic people has dropped to 10%, and even lower in more remote communities. "In general, the population goes easy on the development prospects of nuclear power engineering," Adibekyan says, stressing that no single incident has been fixed at the ANPP throughout the period of its operation. In addition, the ANPP Unit 2 Life Time Extension Project, which is being implemented by Rosatom, applies advanced technologies meeting all IAEA standards. "These technologies will make the ANPP even safer," he says.
He recalls that after the collapse of the Soviet Union, when the Sovietophobes and Russophobes made their best to decommission the ANPP, the republic found itself in a grave energy crisis. It was only the reactivation of the plant that made it possible to settle a lot of problems. The worth of nuclear power engineering in Armenia is also proved by the relatively cheap electricity generated by the ANPP. 1 KW/h of electric power generated by ANPP costs nearly 9 AMD, while the electricity generated by thermal power plants costs 40 AMD, and the one generated by HPPs costs 7-9 AMD. Adibekyan notes that the Sevan- Hrazdan Hydro Cascade is used rather seldom - during the period of irrigation and suspension of the activities of the ANPP and thermal power units. This year nearly 150 small-scale HPPs have already been commissioned. The state promotes the construction of small-scale HPPs by purchasing their electricity for a long-term outlook. In the meantime, the construction of small-scale HPPs is connected with some problems, first of all, environmental problems. The water volume in the rivers has diminished, the fish stock has shrunk. The water resource in Armenia is approximately 7 bln cu m, with 2 bln of this amount concentrated in the reservoirs to be further used for irrigation and electricity generation. That is to say, even the HPPs that generate the cheapest electricity face problems. Against this background, the need for the nuclear power engineering is obvious.
When speaking of the future of the Armenian nuclear power engineering, Adibekyan says the given issue should be considered in the context of development of the country's entire economy. The collapse of the USSR was followed by closure of over 1 thsd industrial enterprises, 900 collective farms and state-owned farms, 250 design engineering bureaus and scientific research institutes. "For conclusion - earlier only 30% of all electricity generated in the country was spent on domestic needs, now this indicator is 60%, because there are no enterprises that need electricity. Therefore, before speaking of the prospects it is necessary to think about the country's economic development. It is obvious that it is hard to imagine the development of power engineering without the development of industry," the sociologist says, adding that it is necessary to raise nearly 150 bln USD to restore the industrial potential of the country.