YEREVAN (RFE/RL)–Armenia will start building a new nuclear power station in place of its Metsamor plant by the beginning of 2011, Energy and Natural Resources Minister Armen Movsisian said on Monday.
With a projected capacity of 1,000-1,200 megawatts, the new nuclear plant would be more than twice as powerful as Metsamor’s sole operating reactor that generates more than 40 percent of Armenia’s electricity. The Soviet-built reactor is due to be decommissioned in 2017.
“According to preliminary estimates, the new atomic block will cost approximately $5 billion,” Movsisian told RFE/RL. “A more precise figure will emerge after the completion of design works.”
“In my opinion, the construction work will start at the end of next year or at the beginning of 2011,” he said.
The Armenian government last week declared an Australian engineering company, Worley Parsons, the winner of an international tender for the right to manage the ambitious project. The two sides are due to hold negotiations and sign a relevant contract soon.
“The next step will be to design the future block, after which we will enlist and select potential investors,” said Movsisian. “That will be followed by the design work and the construction process itself.” The company that will carry out the construction will be chosen in a separate tender, he added.