YEREVAN, November 2. /ARKA/. Armenian Nuclear Power Plant’s service life can be extended at least for another ten years, Ashot Martirosyan, the head of the State Committee on Nuclear Safety, told journalists on Friday.
In April 2012, Armenian government extended the service life of the plant’s second unit. The government said that the license for the second unit’s operation was provided to the plant in 2011 for ten years, in accordance with the law although it was expected to be shut down in 2016.
“Taking into account other countries’ experience in operating nuclear power plants with a similar reactor, we can say that this plant’s operation can be extended at least for another ten years,” Martirosyan said adding that particular terms will be known after appropriate studies.
He pointed out Finland as an example saying that its nuclear plant’s service life has been extended for 15 years despite the plant generates 10% more electric power than projected.
Martirosyan said Armenia uses only 92% of its plant’s capacity, and this makes the plant’s operation safer.
He added that if there were risks in terms of safety, there would be no talk about extension of the plant’s operation.
The head of the committee also said that Japan’s Fukushima nuclear disaster has forced the world to tighten requirements to nuclear plants’ safety and to conduct stress tests at already functioning nuclear plants and at those under construction.
He said the Armenia’s nuclear plant has already undergone stress tests. The results of these tests will be sent to the European Union in May 2013 as part of the national report, and later, in August, the European Union will release its conclusion.
“I am convinced that the stress test results will be positive, since our nuclear plant is under intense scrutiny, and its safety is constantly watched,” he said.
Martirosyan said that the United States and IAEA support Armenia in its efforts to ensure and increase safety of the plant.
The Metsamor plant, which accounts for about 40 percent of Armenia's electricity, is located some 30 kilometers west of Yerevan. It was built in the 1970s but was closed following a devastating earthquake in 1988 that killed some 25,000 people and devastated much of northern Armenia. One of its two VVER 440-V230 light-water reactors was reactivated in 1995. The plant’s financial flows have been managed since 2033 by Russian Inter RAO UES, owned by Russian Rosatom. Armenian authorities said they will build a new nuclear power plant to replace the aging Metsamor plant. The new plant is supposed to operate at twice the capacity of the Soviet-constructed facility. -0-