Construction of third reactor agreed

1 January 1998

Armenia has reached agreement with France and Russia on construction of a third nuclear reactor at Metsamor.

The Armenian plant’s two VVER-440 reactors were shut down in 1989 following a powerful earthquake. The second reactor was recommissioned with Russian help in 1995. This unit was shut down for refuelling on 20 June, resuming operation on 24 November after an agreement was reached with Russia ensuring delivery of nuclear fuel despite the huge debts owed from earlier purchases.

On 17 November Armenian Foreign Ministry spokesman Arsen Gasparian reaffirmed the country’s commitment to both the NPT and to agreements with the IAEA on the safe operation of the power station. He also said that Yerevan is ready “to reasonably address Turkey’s concerns about the safety of our VVER-type reactor.” He also proposed confidence-building measures, including the regular exchange of information with Turkey. Ankara has claimed that leaks of radioactivity from Metsamor have affected areas of northeastern Turkey.

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