YEREVAN (ARKA)—Chief of the Russian state nuclear energy corporation Rosatom, Sergey Kirienko, said today in Yerevan that Russian nuclear specialists will partner with their Armenian peers on various projects, including in third party countries.
Kirienko and Armenia’s energy and natural resources minister Yervand Zakharyan signed an intergovernmental agreement today on the exchange of information in the field of nuclear and radiation safety.
While in Yerevan, Kirienko awarded leading Armenian nuclear specialists with medals dedicated to the 70th anniversary of the Russian nuclear industry.
“It is our common anniversary—not only Russian, but the anniversary of the nuclear industry of the whole [former] Soviet Union,” Kirienko said at the ceremony.
Kirienko said Russian and Armenian nuclear specialist were working on the extension of the service life of the nuclear power plant in Metsamor, Armenia. Russia also supplies nuclear fuel for the facility and helps ensure nuclear and radiation safety.
Russia and Armenia have been long-time partners in the field of nuclear energy. According to an agreement reached in February, Russia will provide Armenia with a $270 million loan and a $30 million grant to extend the service life of the nuclear power plant in Metsamor until 2026. The loan will be given at a 3 percent annual interest rate with repayment to begin in January 2019. The loan will be used to repair the plant, replace equipment, prepare new documentation and train new personnel.
The Metsamor plant, located some 30 kilometers west of Yerevan, was built in the 1970’s 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. The government said earlier that it wanted to build a new facility that is supposed to operate at twice the capacity of the Soviet-era 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.