European Commission to Provide 1 Mil. Euros toward Metsamor Nuclear Safety

Armenia's Metsamor Nuclear Power Plant, located near Yerevan, is one of just a few remaining nuclear power reactors that were built without primary containment structures.

YEREVAN (Arka)—The Armenian government approved on Thursday the signing of an agreement with the European Commission whereby the latter will provide Armenia with up to 1 million euros to strengthen the nuclear and radiation safety of the Armenian nuclear power plant at Metsamor.

Economy minister Vahram Avanesyan said the support will be shown to Armenian government agencies ensuring nuclear safety.

According to the government decision, this cooperation is dictated by the need to license new nuclear safety devices being installed in Armenia to control the operation of the reactor. Assistance will also be shown for the final closure of the plant.

The plant is located some 30 kilometers west of Yerevan. It was built in the 1970s but was closed following a devastating earthquake in 1988. One of its two VVER 440-V230 light-water reactors was reactivated in 1995.

According to experts, the plant can operate until 2016. However, the EU insists on shutting down the plant, despite the fact that it would send the country back into an energy crisis.  On April 19, 2012 the government decided to extend the service life of the Armenian nuclear power plant up to 2026.

Russian officials announced last month that the Russian government would be willing to subsidize up to 35 percent of the cost of building a new power plant, which is estimated to cost as much as 5 billion dollars.

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