Armenia's nuclear power plantThe planned maintenance outage at Armenia's nuclear power plant has been postponed until July, according to the chairman of the Nuclear Safety Committee, Ashot Martirosyan.

The outage was initially expected to begin on 15 May but has now been postponed to 1 July, Martirosyan confirmed to NEI.

The delay is mainly due to the consequences of the COVID-19 pandemic.

Borders closures have complicated the conclusion of agreements on the supply of necessary equipment and materials.

The Metsamor plant will be taken offline to perform planned maintenance and life extension work, according to Martirosyan.

A programme is underway to extend the operation of Metsamor 2 by ten years until 2026. The project includes annealing of the reactor pressure vessel, modernisation of safety systems, and replacement of equipment associated with safety systems. The installed capacity of the plant will also be increased by 12-15%.

All work must be completed before the end of 2021.

The two-unit Armenian nuclear plant, located at Metsamor, was built in the 1970s and comprised two Soviet-designed VVER-440 units, but was closed following the Spitak earthquake in 1988. Metsamor 2 restarted with Russian assistance in 1995 in the face of severe energy shortages.