ArmInfo. Energy complex of Armenia will obviously find itself on the brink of collapse without NPP , Chairman of the Union of Consumers' Rights Protection Armen Poghosyan told ArmInfo's correspondent.
Touching upon the program on extending life cycle of the unit 2 of Armenian Nuclear Power Plant Poghosyan stressed that there is no alternative to nuclear energy in Armenia. Substantiating his point of view the expert recalled that currently hydro, nuclear and thermal energies are the main source of power generation in Armenia. "One should not expect serious success in hydro energy field, as the resources of this source of power output are restricted. It is evident that it is hydro energy that offers the lowest tariff of 5AMD for 1KW/h of electricity but it has no capacity to grow. Tariff of electricity produced by nuclear plant is nearly 8 AMD for 1KW/h while by thermal plant -41 AMD for 1KW/h. Thus, electricity produced by the thermal plant is 3.5-fold more expensive than the one by the nuclear plant", Poghosyan said.
According to Poghosyan in 2017 operation of the Armenian NPP will be suspended for 121 days within the Unit2 life extension program, as a result it will be necessary to maintain the electricity balance using thermal energy. "Obviously, regular consumer will have to come down with money. However, I am not sure that the tariff on electricity will be increased already in 2017. This process should be a subject of long and thorough calculations. No one can give even rough forecast of the new tariff, however tendency of its growth is evident", he said.
At the same time according to the expert it is also obvious that without nuclear energy the country's economy may face serious problems. "Our NPP is unique as it was able to withstand catastrophic earthquake in 1988. Huge work has been conducted since than to raise safety of the Unit 2. Research conducted recently by the commission from the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) also testifies to high level of safety of the Armenian NPP. Moreover 7 out of 8 projects implemented on the plant were advised by IAEA for introduction in nuclear units of a number of European countries. Lack of emergency situations is the result of the activities conducted on the station. As a result one can make a conclusion how significant this program is, due to which safety of the station will be increased and consumers will be able to save their money", Poghosyan stressed.
He thinks the energy complex of Armenia will obviously find itself on the brink of collapse without the NPP. It is necessary, therefore, to launch the construction of the new nuclear power unit as soon as possible. It should be commissioned in 2026 when the lifetime of Unit 2 expires. Meanwhile, there is neither an international consortium nor any engineering idea yet. Earlier Russia expressed its willingness to fund the major part of construction of the new power unit. However, things have changed, the expert said, noting that 8 years ago, when the intention to build a new power unit was announced, its price was $5 bln, but today the price is nearly $7 bln. "To all appearances, the Armenian authorities realized it and announced an intention to build a power unit of medium capacity, which is cheaper. I think the capacity of the power unit should be big, because it would be favorable from the economic viewpoint. The decision on this should be taken as soon as possible, because nuclear power engineering is of critical importance to Armenia," he said.
To recall, in March 2014 the Armenian Government took a decision to extend the lifetime of Unit 2 of the Armenian NPP due to the delay in construction of a new nuclear power unit. Rosatom and Armenian experts agreed to implement the project aimed at extending the Unit 2 lifetime for 10 years till 2026. For this purpose, Russia has provided Armenia with a $270 mln loan and a $30 mln grant. The operations being carried out by Rusatom Service - an integrating company for service tenders of Rosatom enterprises - will be completed by late 2019.