The government of Armenia has rejected the last $11.7 million tranche of a $20.57 million credit that was allocated by Russia for purchases of nuclear fuel. Instead, the government has decided to provide budget guarantees to attract a $10 million credit to Armenian nuclear power stations.
President Robert Kocharyan says Armenia has to refrain from buying nuclear fuel using foreign loans in the next year or two and must switch to purely commercial relations with suppliers. “The state must not increase its external debt because of imports of nuclear fuel. The country’s energy system must itself pay the suppliers from funds received from electricity sales,” Kocharyan insists.
This year, Armenia intended to repay $20 million from its overall debt to Russia for enriched uranium from income generated from privatisation. This was expected to unlock a $20.5 million credit promised but not paid to Armenia: only $9 million were used and the rest was to be used to buy nuclear fuel to be loaded in June-July. However, Russia made it clear that it did not plan to allocate these credits. The new batch of nuclear fuel costs about $13 million dollars and Russia has asked for the money in advance. In addition, Russia says that Armenia’s previous debt of $16 million for fuel delivery must be cleared.