ArmInfo. The development of Armenia's nuclear energy is a priority for the Armenian government. The Minister of Energy Infrastructures and Natural Resources of the Republic of Armenia Ashot Manukyan stated this at a press conference in Yerevan on October 20.
According to him, since September 2016 Armenia, together with the state corporation "Rosatom", has been working on the implementation of the program to extend the life of the N2 power unit of the Armenian Nuclear Power Plant (NPP) until 2016. The works are being carried out in full, according to the approved schedule, and will be completed by the end of 2019. Currently, the issue of locating 800 Russian specialists, which will arrive in Armenia in 2018-2019 to participate in this program, is being resolved. In Metsamor, Vagharshapat and Armavir, hotels are put in order, there are also offers from the private sector. Financing of the subprogram for upgrading the infrastructure near the nuclear power plant and at the station itself will be financed by a Russian state loan and a grant. "The nuclear station contributes to the solution of the energy security problem in Armenia, so attention to it will always be close," the minister said.
He also said that the state treasury of the RA Ministry of Finance has set up a fund to close the nuclear power plant. Funds are concentrated in the accounts of the fund, which are stipulated in the tariff for the nuclear power plant. "If we keep in mind that the closure of the first block is to be implemented within 40 years, then these funds will be enough for the project, in addition, the funds will be attracted from international donors. The first block will become a donor for the second power unit, that is, which can still be used, will be applied on the second block," the Armenian minister said.
Speaking about the EU requirements for the closure of the ANPP, Ashot Manukyan stressed that the capabilities of the second power unit of the ANPP are not infinite, but it will work as long as the resource allows. Only after that it will be closed, and in exchange a new atomic block will be built. The Minister noted that the government of the Republic of Armenia and its department are the construction of modular nuclear reactors with a capacity of 50 MW. Currently, these reactors are in the testing phase, and are expected to be erected within the next two years. For this reason, the Armenian government postponed consideration of the issue of the capacity of the new nuclear power plant for 2 years. According to Ashot Manukyan, a modular nuclear reactor with a capacity of 50 MW is, in fact, a closed nuclear power plant. Equally important is their relatively low cost. A distinctive feature of this reactor is the possibility of stage- by-stage construction of several modular nuclear reactors on the site of the current nuclear power plant, which practically exclude any seismic and environmental risks. "I am sure we will have a new nuclear power plant, another matter - with what capacity and with what technologies," the head of the republic's energy department said.
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. So far, there have been five meetings of the JCC.