YEREVAN, March 27. / ARKA /. Armenian energy and natural resources minister Armen Movsisyan has denied today media reports alleging that the government had given up plans to build a new nuclear power plant to replace the aging Metsamor facility, but acknowledged that the construction of the new plant is being delayed because ‘of the global economic crisis and some geopolitical developments” which did not allow the government to secure sufficient funding for the project.
In 2012 the Armenian government decided to extend the service life of the nuclear power plant in Metsamor by another ten years. Today the government has reaffirmed that decision.
The minister said today that all this in mind the government is going to step up all its efforts to improve the safety of the nuclear facility. At the same time, according to the minister, the government will intensify the work for construction of a new unit.
The government has instructed today the ministry of finance to take all steps necessary for the signing of an intergovernmental loan agreement with Russia to raise funds to finance the project
The Metsamor plant located some 30 kilometers west of Yerevan, 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 the plant’s two VVER 440-V230 light-water reactors was reactivated in 1995.
Armenian authorities say the new plant is supposed to operate at twice the capacity of the Soviet-constructed facility. Metsamor currently generates some 40 percent of Armenia's electricity. But the government has yet to attract funding for the project that was estimated as much as $5 billion.
After September 3 talks with Armenian president Serhz Sargsyan Russian president Vladimir Putin said experts from Russian state nuclear company Rosatom and Armenian experts agreed to extend the service life of the Armenian nuclear power plant until 2026.
In February 2013 Armen Movsisyan said the new nuclear power unit is planned to be built in 2019-2020. -0-