Russia to Own 50 Percent of New Armenian Nuclear Plant

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Metsamor Nuclear Power Plan in Armenia

YEREVAN (RFE/RL)–Armenia’s government unveiled on Thursday plans to create a Russian-Armenian joint venture tasked with building a nuclear power station in place of the aging soviet-era facility at Metsamor by 2017.

Ministers also approved the overall design and main technical parameters of the plant’s reactor to be purchased from Russia. With a projected capacity of just over 1,000 megawatts, it would be more than twice as powerful as Metsamor’s sole operating reactor which generates roughly 40 percent of the country’s electricity.

“We are making a political decision today,” Prime Minister Tigran Sargsyan said during a cabinet meeting. “We are agreeing to set up a joint venture with our Russian partners with a 50/50 ratio. This fits into the strategy of building a new nuclear plant which we approved at a [recent] meeting of the National Security Council.”

In accordance with the decision, the joint venture will be set up by the Armenian government and a state-run Russian company, Atmostroyexport. The new plant is to have a Russian AES-92 pressurized light-water reactor with what Energy and Natural Resources Minister Armen Movsisian described as a “European safety certificate.”

Movsisian told fellow cabinet members that the decision is based on the recommendations of WorleyParsons, an Australian engineering company that was chosen by the government in May to manage its extremely ambitious nuclear project.

AES-92 is a new generation of the Soviet-era VVER reactors that has been licensed by regulatory authorities in Russia and declared to meet safety requirements of the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA). The government instructed Movsisian’s ministry to start preparations for supply contracts with Russian nuclear energy companies.

Vahram Petrosian, director of a Yerevan-based research institute specializing in atomic energy, welcomed the choice of the reactor, saying that Russian nuclear facilities are “among the best in the world” not least because of the quality of their metal casings. “It is well known in the world that Russian metal is good metal,” he told RFE/RL.

Petrosian noted at the same time that the government should purchase and install other, “auxiliary” segments of the new plant from Western manufacturers. “In my view — and I think this is what is going to be done — it would be right for some of those auxiliary systems to be American-made,” he said.

“A lot also depends on measurement and control devices,” added the nuclear scientist. “It is important to make the right choice of device operators. They can, for example, be obtained from France.”

The government has still not answered the key lingering question of who will finance the planned work on Metsamor’s replacement. The total cost of the project is estimated at a whopping $5 billion, a sum twice higher than Armenia’s state budget for this year. The initial authorized capital of the Russian-Armenian venture will stand at a symbolic 60 million drams ($156,000).

Movsisian has repeatedly stated that Yerevan will succeed in finding foreign investors interested in the project. He said in May that the construction work will start by the beginning of 2011.

“The process of constructing the atomic plant is going smoothly,” Prime Minister Sarkisian insisted on Thursday.


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  1. Armen said:

    I thought we were going to have the EU sponsor the nuclear project?  It seems that more and more of Armenia being owned by Russia… are we slowly trying to give ourselves up and become part of Russia again?  So many things are owned by them…

  2. Dave said:

    Baloney.  No way that Armenia can afford this new nuclear power plant.  I wish it could.  What is going to happen is that Russia will own and control the entire plant, and will be able to shut the thing down and freeze Armenia should Armenia ever refuse to follow Russian orders.

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  4. most pessimist optimist said:

    either they own you and allow you to live or get rid of you…this is the reality of the world… yesterday, today, and i am sure tomorrow

  5. Pingback: Russia to Own 50 Percent of New Armenian Nuclear Plant | Asbarez News | Drakz News Station

  6. John said:

    Surprise, Surprise.
    The issue of Armenian new nuclear power plant project going to Russia is as surprising to me as the sun rising in the morning.
    Do you remember Russian foreign minister Sergei Lavrov’s face during Nalbandian’s signing of  the protocols in Zurich? The look was not that different from a mafia hit-man overseeing a dubious transaction by his crony.

  7. manooshag said:

    Hye,  sadly, it is Russia (with its own agenda) and yet, Russia must recognize too what not  other nations are aware:  Armenians are an advanced and highly educated people, in their religion, their literature, the sciences, and more. 
    Sadly,the Turkish Genocide of the advanced culture of the Armenians – murderers of one and one half million innocents (1,500,000 and a 5oo,ooo)   half million who survived and had to flee to other nations to start their lives anew – with the memories…   
    The Turk had to  ‘house’ their  hordes who moved down from the Asian mountains .  Turks chose the enlightened  civilians  (whom they unarmed),  Christian Armenians, to be eliminated from their lands (of 3,000 years history).  Just eliminate a peoples and  move Turks  into their lands, Armenia, take all as their own – everything,   even  an  ancient culture – as their own.
    What a cruel, vile, and ruthless peoples these hordes shall  have been-warriors, killing/taking.
    Turks since just need a stance – ‘deny’ having accomplished their Turkish Genocide –  hoping to ‘get away with it’  (although nations of the world, International Genocide organizations, the Vatican,  all the Archives of the nations of the world whose citizens had witnessed/recorded the Genocide of the Armenians by the Turkish hordes.  As well, the New York Times articles of those years, also the Near East Relief organization (which was then formed expressly to  aid the Armenians).  All proven – these historical records exist for everyone – except- Turkish leaderships (born of Asian hordes)  into today. 
    Further – for truths shall be heard –  of  these  denial years.  Leaderships shall have difficulty to explain why their was a need to lie in the  education their own Turkish  students –  ‘deny’ their own history – ‘deny’  the  Genocide of the Armenian nation?  Then, how shall all the Turkish citizens feel?  Turkish citizens who have been mislead, deceived by their own history books – to learn they  are living  upon the lands where Armenians were raped, murdered, kidnapped.  Drowned in  rivers, marched into the deserts until they died from terrors, hunger, worse – vile treatments – man’s inhumanity to man. Armenian churches left to decay, used as stables… Lying,  Turkey continues to deceive even itself!  Turkey is sitting upon Armenian lands which still belongs to  Armenians… Armenians could not fight to save their nation, Armenians were slaughtered and their nation taken – stolen.
    Today, the Armenian Genocide of the Armenians is not ended. 
    Today, Turkish leaderships – in  Ottoman mode – still pursue Armenians – the world over. Unbelievable – yet true!  And yet, WHY? Does Turk mentality need to ‘attack’ –  still?
    Today,  Armenian Genocide continues – 1915-2009.  Never to be forgot. Reparations due still.

  8. Stepan Sargsyan said:

    Perhaps the remaining 50% will be given to the Turks, just as Tigran Sargsyan was suggesting in the Spring.  He invited the Turkish businessmen to come and participate in its construction.  What a nonsense!

  9. Sako said:

    It all depends on who is going to invest in this project. If the Russians will invest then it’s good for Armenia since the more Russian investment in Armena the more is the Russian interest to protect it  ‘s investments. We have to remember that Russia is the power player in our territory.

  10. Bruce Tasker said:

    So what happened to the new Armenian Nuclear Power Plant which, according to Movsissian, was to be built by an Australian company, after they had already won the tender.
    How many times can Armenia’s disgrace of a Minister of Energy, Armen Movsissian, keep lying and lying and lying …….


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