ArmInfo.Armenia will soon face very serious challenges in the field of energy security, MP from the "Prosperous Armenia" faction Mikael Melkumyan said on April 13 from the rostrum of the parliament.
According to Melkumyan, the Armenian authorities, both in the past and today, have failed to conduct effective negotiations with the Russian Federation to ensure the country's energy security. "The issue of building a new nuclear power plant has been discussed since 2012-2013, but Armenia has not been able to find investors," the MP recalled. Initially, they discussed the possibility of building a nuclear power plant with a capacity of 1000-1200 MW, then announced plans to build a station of 500-600 MW, then proceeded to discuss the possibility of installing modular nuclear reactors. But these plans, as the parliamentarian pointed out, were frozen and the country's energy authorities took the path of extending the life of the operating unit 2 of the nuclear power plant for another 10 years.
Meanwhile, the 30-year period of operation of the second power unit expired back in 2016. "In 2016, Armenia took a loan from Russia for a total of $ 270 million, and another $ 30 million in grants to begin work on the reconstruction and re-equipment of the Metsamor nuclear power plant." ... Suddenly it turned out that due to the presence of a fine, through our fault, of $ 1-2 million, we refuse the Russian loan, and put the burden of financing repair work on the state budget. Meanwhile, from January 1, 2020, the repayment of a loan of $ 270 million has already been taken into account in the electricity tariff and the increase in the tariff by 3 drams from February 1 is also the result of such activities, "he explained.
Meanwhile, the parliamentarian stressed, the idea was to abandon the construction of a new nuclear power plant, extending the life of the existing resource until 2026. "Today they are already talking about 2031, but will they give us a license for the next 30-40 years - that is the question," he said. I am sure that the modern world will not allow the operation of a nuclear power plant built on the basis of old technologies in the next 30-40 years. "It can be considered a great success if we are allowed to operate nuclear power plant at least until 2031," he said. The MP from the PA faction recalled that this year it is planned to shut down the NPP for a long time, lasting 141 days, we will not receive the planned 330 million kWh of electricity from Artsakh, plus Artsakh itself will not be able to provide the required 590 kWh, "Naturally, we may face serious problems and the risks of stable operation of the energy system, " the lawmaker said.
Proceeding from this, the necessity of building a new nuclear power plant is axiomatic for the parliamentarian, since the further fate of the existing plant is in question, also in the context of the agreements with the EU within the framework of the Armenia-EU Agreement (CEPA). To remind, according to the intergovernmental agreement, Russia provided Armenia with a state loan of $ 300 million for the modernization of the second power unit of the ANPP (of which $ 270 million is a loan, $ 30 million is a grant). As of the end of February 2020, the Armenian side has spent about $ 200 million from the amount of the state loan. In April 2019, the Armenian side turned to the Russian Ministry of Finance with a proposal to prolong the loan, as well as postpone the start of loan repayment (from December 31, 2019 to December 31, 2021) amid a delay in work on the project. In June 2020, Armenia withdrew from the Russian loan. Minister of Territorial Administration and Infrastructures of Armenia Suren Papikyan noted that at this stage the authorities considered it more profitable for the country to find funds from other sources for these purposes. As regards the ANPP modernization program, Papikyan confirmed that the state corporation "Rosatom" remains the main partner of Armenia (its subsidiary company "Rusatom-Service" is the general contractor of the station modernization program). On April 7, in Moscow, Armenian Prime Minister Nikol Pashinyan proposed Russian President Vladimir Putin to consider the possibility of building a new nuclear power plant in Armenia.