Australian Firm Wins Contract to Build New Armenian Nuclear Plant

metsamormountainsYEREVAN (Arka)—Worley Parsons, an Australian engineering firm providing services to energy and resource industries, has been awarded a contract by the Armenian Government to build a new nuclear power station in place of Armenia’s Soviet-era facility at Metsamor.

The government hopes to have the new plant built by 2016, in time for the planned decommissioning of Metsamor’s sole operating reactor which generates about 40 percent of Armenia’s electricity. President Serzh Sarkisian announced last October that work on the facility meeting modern safety standards will start “in the coming months.”

According to Vasak Taproshyan, a spokesperson for the Armenian State Procurement Agency, Worley Parsons won the international tender over competitor Scientech because its bid contained a warranty policy on the plant.

Taproshyan did not comment on the amount Worley Parsons bid to win the tender, saying only that a relevant agreement would be signed to fix the final price in 15 days.

Armenia is likely to spend some $5 billion on the new 1000MW power unit. Construction is set to begin in 2011.

The United States and the European Union, which have long been pushing for Metsamor’s closure, support the ambitious idea in principle. The U.S. government allocated in November 2007 $2 million for the first feasibility studies on the project that were jointly conducted by Armenian and U.S. atomic energy experts this year. But U.S. diplomats made clear that Washington would not finance the plant’s construction.

Armenia’s Deputy Minister of Energy Areg Galstyan had earlier said the winning bidder would be responsible for drawing up a conceptual design of the new reactor and supervising its construction.

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