WorleyParsons has won a contract from the Armenian government to construct a new nuclear power station in place of the country’s Soviet-era facility at Metsamor.

The government expects to complete construction of the new 1000MW reactor by 2016, the year the country’s existing reactor, Armenia 2, is due to shutdown. The new plant is expected to cost around $5 billion.

According to Vasak Taproshyan, a spokesperson for the Armenian state procurement agency, WorleyParsons has won the international tender because its bid contained a warranty policy on the plant.

Taproshyan did not reveal the amount of the firm’s bid, he reported only that a relevant agreement would be signed to fix the final price. The winning bidder will be responsible for drafting a conceptual design of the new reactor and supervising its construction.

Armenia is heavily dependent on the single reactor, which currently produces about 40% of the its electricity. But it is under international pressure to shutdown the first-generation V-270 VVER reactor due to safety concerns,

Turkey has written to the International Atomic Energy Agency demanding that something is done to speed up the closure of Armenia 2 and called for more international pressure. The Turkish nuclear agency has also claimed that its monitoring stations have detected increased radioactivity levels, which it believes are from the Metsamor site.

The USA and the European Union support the ambitious idea to replace Armenia 2, in principle. In November 2007 the US government allocated $2 million for the first feasibility studies on the project, which were jointly conducted by Armenian and US atomic energy experts in 2009. But US diplomats made it clear that Washington would not finance for the plant’s construction.

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