EU funds nuclear replacement

1 February 2002

The European Union plans to give Armenia r100 million to build alternative power plants to replace the nuclear plant in Metsamor. Torben Holtze, head of the European Commission's delegation in Armenia and Georgia, said the decision was made at a sitting of the EU Foreign Ministers Council.

Holtze said a special fund has been established by the EU and Armenian government to build hydro plants, lay gas pipelines and improve the efficiency of electricity distribution systems. The Energy Ministry is currently drafting proposals on implementing these projects.

The Armenia plant was built in 1997-1980, and has two VVER-440(270) reactors. The units were shut down after an earthquake in December 1988, precipitating an energy crisis. Unit 2 resumed operation in November 1995 and currently generates 40% of the country's energy. In 1994 the Armenian government pledged to shut down the Armenia 2 reactor in 2004, but the exact schedule has still not been finalised. In a recent interview, deputy energy minister Areg Galstyan said the plant will not close without new energy supplies being in place first.

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