US Praises Energy Sector Reforms Assists in Nuclear Safety

YEREVAN (Noyan Tapan)–Prime Minister Armen Darbinian received the US State Department’s coordinator for nuclear energy affairs Carol Kessler–Tuesday–to discuss ways of encouraging foreign investmen’s in the energy sector–the state of the current reforms in Armenia–the implementation of joint programs as well as cooperation in the sphere of nuclear energy.

According to Kessler–the current reforms in Armenia–by their effectiveness–especially in the energy sector–serve as example for other CIS countries to follow. The sides stressed that a delegation from Armenia’should attend the International Energy Conference to be held in Houston.

Also attending the meeting were Armenia’s Minister of Energy Gagik Martorossian and US Ambassador to Armenia Peter Tomsen.

An agreement–signed by "Armgosatomnadzor" and the US Nuclear Regulatory Commission in 1997–on the implementation of the third stage of the technical assistance program for the Armenian Nuclear Power Plant will be in effect within the next three months.

On Tuesday–program manager–representative of the NRC–John Ramsey said–"We are concerned with safe operation of the Armenian nuclear power pland."

The four-year program costs $1.3 million and is intended to provide necessary equipment to the Armenian nuclear power plant and "Armgosnadzor" as well as personnel training.

The second stage of the program has already been completed.

The cost of the first two stages–including the delivery of the communication means and their installation at the Medzamor plant and "Armgosnadzor" cost $250,000. The third stage will deliver and install the necessary additional equipment.

Technical assistance is rendered by the US firm MEGA-TECH.

The vice-president of the firm–Charles Schilling–also stressed that the US government is concerned with installing necessary systems in the power plant in order to enhance its safety.

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