ArmInfo.Armenian Nuclear Power Plant intends to complete the program of modernization of the second power unit without the participation of Rosatom State Corporation.
As Advisor to the General Director of the station Gera Sevikyan said in an exclusive interview with ArmInfo, the relations with the Russian side are rather complex on the issue of continuing financing. "And in this regard, we will probably have to look for another source of financing, since the term for issuing a loan for the implementation of the program was the end of 2019. Our attempts to extend the loan have not been successful so far. The issue of funds and directions of their use is under consideration by the RA government ", Gera Sevikyan said.
Obviously, when searching for sources of financing, a certain part of the work can be postponed to a later date, but those activities that will be related to security and obtaining a license have to be completed before April 1, 2021, when the permit for the production of electricity by the station expires.
"Search for financing, concluding an agreement, opening of financing will take time, however work needs to be continued'', Sevikyan noted. First of all, it is a matter of annealing the reactor vessel, upgrading safety systems, and replacing equipment that is also associated with safety systems. In addition, basic calculation and technical justifications will be developed and applied on the possibility of further safe operation of irreplaceable equipment. "After annealing the dome of the reactor, the calculation will be made based on the residual life of the reactor and, I hope, the reactor will be able to work another 15 years," said the adviser to the general director.
As a result of the program, the installed capacity of the Armenian NPP will increase by 12% -15%.
To the clarifying question of ArmInfo, Gera Sevikyan emphasized that, according to the results of the first stage of the program, about $ 100 million remained unused. But for these unused $ 100 million the station had to pay a fine to the Russian side. In addition, there were claims for allegedly exceeding the limits of 20% of the loan amount of $ 270 million, which the NPP, according to the agreement, could use at its discretion. "80% of these funds were left to Russian enterprises, the remaining 20% - to foreign ones, including Armenia," said Gera Sevikyan, adding that based on the current situation, the Armenian Nuclear Power Plant intends to complete the program on its own, no longer hoping for a Russian partner.
To note, according to the agreement, all life extension work was supposed to be completed before the end of 2019, but now it turns out that there is a need to extend the project implementation time by another 2 years - until December 31, 2021.
Earlier, Deputy Minister of Territorial Administration and Infrastructures of the Republic of Armenia Hakob Vardanyan noted that Rusatom Service received $ 30 million from the loan amount in the form of payment for services, which was stipulated by the terms of the agreement, even despite the incompleteness of the project. The Armenian side now intends to sign a new agreement with the company, according to which payments will be made not by years, but by the results of work.
"The project was delayed, and we paid for the services of the company every year," the deputy minister noted. He also said that in total, about $ 200 million (plus minus $ 2 million) was used as part of the extension program, of which 90% of credit funds ($ 270 million) and 10% of the grant ($ 30 million). The Armenian side is currently negotiating with Russian partners on the remaining loan amount. At the same time, payments will not be made on all, but only on the used loan amount, since the project is not fully completed.
To recall, a loan of $ 270 million and a grant of $ 30 million were provided by the Government of the Russian Federation to Armenia for a period of 15 years with a grace period of payments in the first three years. This deadline expired on December 31, 2019. At the same time, the annual interest rate on payments is 3%. The main objectives of the project to extend the life of the 2nd unit of the Armenian NPP are to restore the resource and extend the operation of the station to 10 years (until 2026).
The Armenian NPP consists of two units with Soviet (Russian) VVER 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 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 extend the life of the second power unit. The EU has repeatedly called on the Armenian authorities to close the Armenian nuclear power plant.