Armenian NPP life extension may take five years

12 April 2016

Extension of the Armenian NPP's operating life may take five years, Russian Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev told his Armenian counterpart Hovik Abrahamyan on 7 April. "The paractical implementation of the program has already been launched," he said. "This is a unique project. As a rule, such projects are long-lasting. We are planning to complete it in Armenia within five years."

The NPP, near Yerevan, was built in the 1970s with two VVER 440-V230 light-water reactors. It was closed following a devastating earthquake in 1988, but unit 2 was recommissioned in 1995 in face of severe energy shortages. The plant currently generates some 35% of Armenia's electricity.

Armenia eventually plans to build a new NPP with twice the capacity of the existing facility but finance is proving a problem. In the meantime, the government decided in March 2014 to extend the plant's service life because of delay in building a new unit with Russian financial assistance. Russia will provide $270m as low interest loan and $30m in grants.

Russia is still considering possible participation in the construction of the new NPP. In February 2010, Russia and Armenia established a joint venture Metsamorenergoatom on a parity basis, which is to become the customer for construction of the new plant, and subsequently signed an intergovernmental agreement on cooperation for the construction of new nuclear units.

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