Jul 9, 2024, 8:28 PM

Armenia discusses newnuclear powerplant with US

Armenia discusses newnuclear powerplant with US

TEHRAN, Jul. 09 (MNA) – Armenia and the US are discussing the possibility of building a new NPP and the process has entered the subject phase, according to the Secretary of Armenia’s Security Council, Armen Grigoryan.

“We have entered a very substantive phase,” Armen Grigoryan told a conference in Yerevan. “We are discussing the legal framework without which we cannot advance. At the moment, I can say that the ball is in the US’s court. We expect that the internal procedures in the US will be completed, after which we will begin to work,” he said, adding that Yerevan is trying to diversify economic relations with international partners to enhance energy security, Nuclear Engineering International magazine (NEI) reported.

The currently operating Armenian NPP (ANPP) at Metsamor, which generates roughly 40% of Armenia’s electricity was built in the 1970s with two Soviet-supplied VVER-440-V230 units, but was closed following a devastating earthquake in 1988. However, unit 2 was recommissioned with Russian help in 1995 following severe energy shortages. In March 2014, the Armenian government decided to extend the plant’s service life to 2026. Most of the overhaul (until 2019) was funded by an interstate loan from Russia. The plant is due to be decommissioned in 2036. The Armenian government announced in April 2022 plans to build a new nuclear plant by that time.

In October 2021, Armenian Prime Minister Nikol Pashinian said talks were underway with Russia to construct a new facility to replace ANPP. In December 2023, Armenia contracted Rosatom to extend the life of the plant until 2036, with talks ‘ongoing’ about building a new reactor at the ageing facility.

However, Washington has been actively working to persuade Armenia to distance itself from Russia. In May 2022, US Secretary of State Antony Blinken and Armenian Foreign Minister Ararat Mirzoyan signed a memorandum of understanding on “strategic nuclear cooperation”. A senior US State Department official said in 2023 that Washington is “assessing the feasibility” of building a nuclear plant equipped with small modular reactors (SMRs) in Armenia, noting that US technology could make Armenia less dependent on Russia for energy.

In January 2024, Pashinian said Armenia planned to build a new NPP within 8-10 years and various options are being investigated including technologies from Russia, the USA, and South Korea. A preliminary feasibility study for the construction of a new 1200 MWe unit from is under consideration.


News ID 217581


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