ArmInfo. The Armenian government does not exclude the possibility of providing a budget loan to the Armenian Nuclear Power Plant (ANPP) to fill the shortage of financial resources. On November 13, Minister of Finance of the Republic of Armenia Atom Janjughazyan stated this from the rostrum of the Republic of Armenia, answering the question of MP of the National Assembly of the Republic of Armenia from the Prosperous Armenia faction Mikayel Melkumyan about the deficit of 6 billion drams needed for the implementation of the program for the modernization of the second power unit of the ANPP.
The Minister noted that, based on the results of the negotiations, a solution to the problem will be found. "Whether it will be a budget loan or other sources of financing, I think in January 2020 we will decide on this issue," Atom Janjughazyan noted, adding that the volume of budget lending will depend on the volume of the loan, the terms of the credit line and conditions. There is an agreement with the Central Bank on the basis of which it is possible to finance at an estimated rate of 5%.
Earlier, ArmInfo, citing Deputy Minister of Territorial Administration and Infrastructures of Armenia Hakob Vardanyan, reported that Armenia expects Russia's response to a request to extend the deadline for the start of payments on a loan of $ 270 million provided in 2015 to implement a program to extend the life of the second power unit of the Armenian nuclear power plant. Hakob Vardanyan, Deputy Minister of Territorial Administration and Infrastructures of the Republic of Armenia, in charge of the energy sector, said this at a hearing in a parliamentary commission on regional and Eurasian integration on November 1.
According to him, according to the schedule, it was planned to complete the program by December 31, 2019, but as a result of surveys conducted in 2017 of more than 4,500 instruments and equipment, new problems were identified, and therefore, there was a need to extend the program for another 2 years. In particular, we are talking about the temperature treatment (annealing) of the reactor in order to increase its strength to resist neutron fluxes, modernize tower cooling systems, install anti-seismic protection systems, and build a new nuclear power substation. The current substation, according to the deputy minister, built in the 1970s of the last century, has exhausted its resource, and taking into account its system-forming role in the electric power industry of Armenia, along with the Shinuhayr substations and the Hrazdan TPP, there is a need for the construction of a new facility. The issue of radioactive waste management also remains to be decided.
In total, 90% of credit funds (from $ 270 million) and 10% of the grant ($ 30 million) were used as part of the extension program. It is expected that by the end of the year about $ 2 million will be saved. The Armenian side will not make interest payments on the entire, but only on the disbursed loan amount, since the project has not been fully completed. The Armenian side is counting on understanding from the Russian side, which, according to preliminary data, is ready to consider extending the payment deadlines, but there is no final decision. Meanwhile, starting from January 1, 2020, Armenia should start paying both on interest rates and on the principal amount of the loan. Complete modernization of the unit will lead to more than 10% increase in its efficiency, which will make it possible to service a loan without any problems. The deputy minister also emphasized that by December 31, 2019 the contract with the general contractor of the program, "Rusatom Service" company (part of the "Rosatom group" of companies) will expire, with which an additional agreement will be signed regarding the continuation of work. However, the new agreement will stipulate a payment term. The fact is, Hakob Vardanyan continued, that the company in the form of payment for services under the main document received $ 30 million, which is stipulated by the condition of the intergovernmental agreement. Now the Armenian side will insist on payments not by years, but by the results of work.
"The project dragged on, and we paid for the company's services annually," the deputy minister said. To recall, the Government of the Russian Federation of Armenia for a period of 15 years provided the loan with a grace period for payments in the first three years. This deadline expires December 31, 2019. Moreover, the annual interest rate on payments is 3%. The main objectives of the project to extend the life of the 2nd power unit of the Armenian nuclear power plant are to restore the resource and extend the operation of the station to 10 years (until 2026), increase the level of safety and efficiency of nuclear power plants. This year, it is planned to replace the second turbogenerator at the station, the automatic control system, and carry out repair work on the cooling towers. In addition, work will be carried out to prepare for the treatment of the reactor dome, which will be heat treated (annealed) in order to increase its strength to resist neutron fluxes. Annealing itself will be carried out in 2020. All work on the project will be completed by the end of 2021. In this regard, Armenia intends to raise the issue of transferring work and loan payments from 2019 to 2021 before the Russian government. The Armenian NPP 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, the station 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 activated. In March 2014, the Armenian government decided to modernize the station and extend the life of the second power unit.