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.