EU to Grant 10 Million Euro Annually to Keep Armenian Nuclear Plant Safe

YEREVAN (Noyan Tapan)–The protocol signed in conclusion of a meeting between the representatives of Armenia and European Union in Brussels–Belgium–stipulates that the Armenian Nuclear Power Plant can be shut down only if an equally powerful plant is constructed in Armenia–Minister of Energy of Armenia David Zadoyan said September 23. The protocol also stipulates financial and other issues related to the shutting down of the Armenian power plant.

According to him–the protocol stipulates that the power plant will be shut down provided that new capacities of 600 megawatts will be created instead of the current 400 megawatts.

According to the document–the target date of the shut down is 2004 on condition that at least 300 of the 600 megawatts of new capacities be cheaper than the energy generated at the nuclear power plant. The minister said that this quantity is most likely to be ensured at the expense of the energy generated by the Armenian hydro power plants. The remaining 300 megawatts can be generated by thermal power plants and other facilities. The possibility of using renewable sources of energy and constructing a new Nuclear Power Plant has not been ruled out.

Zadoyan pointed out that during similar negotiations to be held in Brussels in October the issue of constructing a new nuclear power plant in Armenia is also expected to be discussed. In particular–a decision is supposed to be made on the need for constructing a new nuclear plant in Armenia. Financial issues related to the construction of new capacities will also be discussed.

The minister reported that according to an agreement–in 2000-2006 the EU will grant 10,000,000 euro ($12,000,000) to Armenia annually for the purpose of ensuring the nuclear safety of the Armenian power plant under the TACIS nuclear safety program.

The EU representative to Armenia Denis Corboy said that there are a wide range of issues to be discussed at the negotiations. He reported that the European Commission made a decision on allocating an exclusive 70-million-euro grant for ensuring and enhancing the safety of the Armenian nuclear power plant. According to him–when the situation is studied more thoroughly–new financial resources will be required.

Minister of Energy David Zadoyan said that the current state of the Armenian plant "is better than satisfactory."

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