Operation of Armenia’s only nuclear power plant is to be put under Russian management, Armenia’s energy minister Karen Galustyan announced. The Armenia 2 unit at Metsamor would be a Russian-Armenian joint enterprise, he said, but added the arrangement must be coordinated with the EU, which is demanding the plant’s closure by 2004.
The agreement was reached during a recent visit to Armenia by Russian president Vladimir Putin. The conditions of the external management contract are still being developed. The aim is to pave the way for debt settlement and to ensure continuous operation of the unit.
Earlier, Russian Deputy Nuclear Minister Nikolai Ryzhkov said that Russia was satisfied that Armenia 2 would operate at least until 2013-2015. The plant will be part of Rosenergoatom, said Ashot Madonyan, Director of Scientific Research Institute for Environmental Problems in Energy Sector, and Russia will own 50%. Russian Energy Minister Igor Yusupov said Russia’s nuclear industry would want to lease the plant for 30 years.
The plant is likely to go back online early this month, following a long delay due to fuel debts (see NEI July 2001, p4). Russia has recently supplied the last shipment of fuel following payment of $4 million. To cover the payment, the Armenian government had approved the use of funds from the proceeds of privatisation. Armenia has agreed to repay a further $9 million over the next three months. The $4 million is due to be repaid to the state treasury following the receipt of a new $4 million loan from the CIS Interstate Bank.