ArmInfo.At this stage, conversations and discussions around the construction of a new nuclear power plant in Armenia do not go beyond the framework of table toasts, Vahe Davtyan, an expert in the field of energy security, Doctor of Political Sciences expressed a similar opinion to ArmInfo, commenting on the possibility of building a new nuclear power plant in Armenia, voiced by Prime Minister Pashinyan at a meeting with Russian President Putin.
"And this is despite the fact that the construction of a new nuclear power plant is recorded both in the Government Program and in the Energy Sector Development Program for 2020-2040. Against this background, I state with full responsibility that there is no clear scenario for the development of nuclear energy in Armenia. In other words, we do not even know the NPP of what capacity we want. We do not know in which direction the energy system of Armenia should develop, we do not even have medium-term and long-term forecasts of the energy balance, "he said.
Based on the foregoing, the expert is convinced that any mention of the need to build a new nuclear power plant in Armenia, at least, should be accompanied by a clarification, in fact, of the scenario according to which the authorities want to develop nuclear energy in the country. In this light, Davtyan characterizes Pashinyan's proposal to Putin to build a new nuclear power plant as not going beyond political rhetoric. In his opinion, this is how the Armenian prime minister undertook a primitive attempt at political maneuvering. Moreover, the latter was correctly diagnosed and evaluated by its addressees.
According to Davtyan, the essence of Pashinyan's attempt to make a political maneuver was motivated by the desire to demonstrate to Moscow the absence of political messages in Yerevan's decision, adopted in June 2020, to refuse the remainder of the Russian loan to prolong the operation of the ANPP. Meanwhile, in his opinion, by this decision Armenia lowered the energy dialogue with Russia from the level of ensuring strategic security to the level of technical cooperation with the Rosatom corporation. "Meanwhile, in reality, Armenia's refusal from the Russian loan contained serious political messages. Especially taking into account the previous consultations of the Armenian authorities with the US State Department, within the framework of which the construction of a modular nuclear power plant in Armenia was discussed. At the same time, such a prospect does not fit into the general regional logic of the development of the peaceful atom and nuclear energy. First of all, due to the fact that it can deprive Armenia of the strategic status of a state developing the peaceful atom, "the expert concluded.
To recall, the Armenian NPP (Metsamor NPP) consists of two units with Soviet (Russian) VVER reactors. The first block was put into operation in 1976, the second - in 1980. In March 1989, after the devastating Spitak earthquake, 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 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.