IAEA Experts to Inspect Site for New Nuclear Plan

The Medzamor nuclear power plant in Armenia

YEREVAN (RIA Novosti)—A group of experts from the International Atomic energy Agency (IAEA) will arrive on Monday in Armenia to inspect the site for the construction of a new power unit at the Armenian nuclear power plant.

Ashot Martirosyan, chairman of the State committee on nuclear security, said the IAEA officials will study the results of geological, seismological and other surveys conducted at the site since 2009.

Armenia plans to build a new 1,000-mWt power unit at the existing Armenian nuclear plant. The construction is scheduled to start in 2011 and the new unit is expected do become operational by 2017.

The only currently operational unit at the power plant must be shut down by that time, the official said.

The Medzamor nuclear power plant, which is located about 19 miles from Yerevan was put in service in 1980 and shut down in March 1989 following a powerful earthquake in December 1988 that killed at least 25,000 people.

Medzamor became operational again in 1995 to provide electricity during a severe energy crisis in the country. At present, only one out of two power units remains active, producing up to 50 percent of all electricity in the former Soviet republic.

Experts estimate that the unit could work safely until at least 2016.

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