Friday, April 2 2021 16:18
Alina Hovhannisyan

EU Ambassador and Armenian NPP leadership discussed opportunities for  expanding cooperation

EU Ambassador and Armenian NPP leadership discussed opportunities for  expanding cooperation

ArmInfo.The Ambassador of the European Union to Armenia and the leadership of the Armenian Nuclear Power Plant (ANPP) discussed the possibilities of expanding  cooperation within the framework of projects to ensure a high level  of responsible and safe management of spent fuel and radioactive  waste within the CEPA framework. This became known following the  working visit of the EU Ambassador Extraordinary and Plenipotentiary  to Armenia Andrea Wiktorin to the Metsamor NPP.

According to the EU Armenian office, EU Ambassador Andrea Wiktorin  paid a working visit to the Metsamor Nuclear Power Plant (NPP) and  followed up the implementation of the 2019 EU Peer-Review safety  improvements in discussion with NPP senior management. Nuclear safety  in Armenia is and will remain an absolute priority for the EU, with a  long history of substantial EU investments and technical cooperation  on the NPP safety.

In line with the European Green Deal, the EU favours alternative,  green energy sources in Armenia as an engine for green growth and  jobs, investments and prosperity in Armenia. Parties discussed  enhanced cooperation on responsible and safe management of spent fuel  and radiological waste and new solar projects in line with CEPA.

To note, the Armenian NPP consists of two units with Soviet (Russian)  VVER reactors. The first unit was put into operation in 1976, the  second - in 1980. In March 1989, after the devastating Spitak  earthquake, which killed 25 thousand people, the work of the station  was stopped. In November 1995, in connection with an acute energy  crisis, the second power unit of the station with a capacity of 407.5  MW was put into operation.

In March 2014, the Armenian government decided to extend the life of  the second power unit. To this end, Armenia attracted a loan of $ 270  million and a grant of $ 30 million from the Russian Federation. As  of early 2020, the residual resource of these funds was $ 107  million. For objective and subjective reasons, it was not possible to  agree with Russian partners on this residual resource. For this  reason, it was decided to attract a budgetary loan of 63 billion  drams.

Today the ANPP provides more than a third of all electricity in the  country and ensures its energy security and independence. The  development of the Armenian nuclear industry was achieved thanks to  the scientific centers and industrial enterprises of the country: the  Scientific Research Institute of Energy, the State Committee on  Nuclear Safety Regulation under the Government of Armenia, the  Armenian Scientific Research Institute of NPP Operation, the National  Polytechnic University of Armenia and others. The nuclear industry is  not limited to energy and has made it possible to apply technologies  in such areas as medicine, space, agriculture.

In particular, nuclear medicine is actively developing in Armenia -  over the past few years, the production of isotopes has begun in the  country, the first positron emission tomography has been carried out  for the first time. Work in this direction is carried out by the  National Scientific Laboratory. A. Alikhanyan (YerPhI), National  Center of Oncology named after. V. A. Fanarjyan, Center for  Radioactive Isotopes, Yerevan Nuclear Medicine Center.

It should be noted that the strategic program for the development of  the energy sector of Armenia until 2040 provides for a repeated  extension of the life of the Armenian nuclear power plant after 2026,  and in the future, the construction of a new nuclear power plant.

Let us emphasize that the Armenian NPP implements its own program for  the management of spent nuclear fuel (SNF). The premises available at  the station allow storing spent nuclear fuel in them. This work is  carried out in close cooperation with France Atom. The SNF is divided  into five components according to the degree of activity, and, apart  from the intermediate level, NPPs have no problems with storage and  maintenance. As for intermediate-level spent nuclear fuel,  construction of the fourth stage of a dry storage facility for spent  nuclear fuel will begin in the near future, which will allow, at  least until 2036, to solve this problem. For this, the necessary  containers and modules were delivered to Armenia. Taking into account  the possibilities of extending the operation of the ANPP until 2036,  the station is fully provided with the necessary storage areas. In  these storage facilities, fuel can be stored for at least 50 years,  and at most 300 years.

Meanwhile, it should be emphasized that the European Union has  repeatedly called on the Armenian authorities to close the Armenian  nuclear power plant for security purposes, but the country does not  yet have a real alternative to replace a third of generating  capacities.

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