Nuclear Power Plant Fails to Secure Necessary Fuel

YEREVAN (NoyanTapan)–Although negotiations between Armenia and the Russian RAO EES company have ended–no visible breakthrough has been achieved. According to a provisional deal–the company was to buy a $77.5 million worth of energy from Armenia with $39.5 million of the total sum to be forwarded to clear a debt for used-up nuclear fuel by the Armenian Nuclear Power Plant (ANPP). The debt amounts to $32 million; the remaining $7.5 million was to be used to acquire new nuclear fuel.

In case of a delay in acquiring the nuclear fuel supply–the republic will suffer a loss of $30,000 per day. The Hrazdan thermal power plant can also produce energy–but one kilowatt hour of the energy produced by the thermal power plant is 2.5-3 drams more expensive than that produced by the ANPP.

The twenty-third anniversary of the currently-working second unit of the station was marked on January 5. The Nuclear Power Plant of Metsamor is composed of two units–the first was activated in 1976 and the second in 1980. The government of Soviet Armenia deactivated the nuclear power plant just two months after the 1988 devastating earthquake. The ANPP was reopened in November 1995. The renovation of the second unit enabled Armenia to resume 24-hour electricity supply following the 1992-95 energy crisis.

The second unit of the power plant–loaded once a year–can generate about 40% of the total share of energy produced in the country.

The Armenian government and the European Union signed an agreement detailing the conditions of a possible shutdown of the station in Brussels in September of 1999. The agreement signals that the station can be shut down only on condition of ensuring new power capacities totaling that of current operating stations. According to the same document–a provisional deadline for closing of the station was set for 2004.

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