ArmInfo. Minister of Energy Infrastructures and Natural Resources of the Republic of Armenia Ashot Manukyan presented to IAEA Director General Yukio Amano the process of implementing the program for extending the lifetime of the second power unit of the Armenian Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) at the 61st General Conference of the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) on September 18-22 in Vienna power plants.
According to the press service of the ministry, the Armenian minister stressed the importance of assistance from the IAEA in the implementation of programs aimed at improving the level of safety of the nuclear power plant.During the meeting, the interlocutors also discussed the program on the closure of the first power unit of the Armenian NPP and the possible cooperation on this issue on the part of the IAEA.
Earlier, in an interview with ArmInfo, adviser to the Minister of Energy Infrastructures and Natural Resources of Armenia Areg Galstyan noted that Armenia has good, fruitful relations with the IAEA. The station is often visited by professional missions of this structure, oriented to different directions, from the safety culture to operation, to the safe use of nuclear fuel. They give recommendations, comments, which the Armenian side is obliged to eliminate in certain terms. Once every three years the station submits a national report to the IAEA. In the spring of this year, a similar report was submitted. Next year, a report on radioactive waste and spent nuclear fuel will be presented.
At the ANPP, continuous work is carried out to analyze and improve the safety parameters. So, since the second power unit was restarted in 1995, more than 1,400 measures have been taken to improve its safety. Armenia accepts regular expert missions and international inspections, incl. as part of the IAEA's integrated regulatory review services (the IRRS program). The results of the latest inspections confirm the high level of safety at the ANPP. The IAEA, in the course of its mission to Armenia in June 2015, noted the high level of development of the regulatory and legal framework in the field of nuclear and radiation safety. IAEA experts also positively assessed the work of the Nuclear Energy Safety Council under the President of the Republic of Armenia, calling it among the best international practices for regulating the security of the nuclear sphere. The safety standards of the ANPP ensure that radioactive waste and spent nuclear fuel from the plant do not pose any danger to anyone.
The principles of ensuring safety at the ANPP mean that even the theoretical possibility of exporting nuclear fuel or substances from the territory of the station is completely excluded. Regarding radioactive waste, based on IAEA recommendations for the ANPP, a "Strategy for the Management of Radioactive Waste and Spent Nuclear Fuel" was developed. The purpose of the program is to bring the level of radioactive waste management at the Armenian NPP to modern requirements. A phased implementation of the program is planned in the period 2016 - 2019, using the loan funds of the life extension project. The Armenian nuclear power plant consists of two units with Soviet (Russian) WWER reactors. The first unit was commissioned in 1976, the second - in 1980. In March 1989, after the Spitak earthquake, which killed 25 thousand people, the station's work was stopped. In November 1995, in connection with the most acute energy crisis, the second power unit of the station with a capacity of 407.5 MW was involved. In March 2014, the Armenian government decided to extend the life of the second power unit by 10 years - until 2026. The project is coordinated by the subsidiary structure of the State Corporation Rosatom - JSC Rusatom Service. Completion of work is planned for 2019. The Government of the Russian Federation allocated a $ 270 million state export loan to Armenia and a $ 30 million grant for these purposes. In March 2015, the Joint Coordination Committee (JCC) was established to implement the program. To date, four meetings of the JCC have been held.