Armenian NPP prepares for life extension

18 February 2021

The scheduled repair and maintenance outage at the Armenian nuclear power plant this year will be longer than usual, lasting 141 days to allow for modernisation to extend the life of the plant plant, including the annealing of the reactor vessel. These and other strategically important issues were discussed on 15 February during a visit to the plant by the Minister of Territorial Administration and Infrastructures of Armenia Suren Papikyan and the Ambassador Extraordinary and Plenipotentiary of the Russian Federation to Armenia, Sergei Kopyrkin. The general contractor for the modernisation is Rusatom Service JSC, which is a part of Rosatom.

“The past year was not easy due to the pandemic, but we did a lot through joint efforts with Armenian nuclear scientists,” said Evgeny Salkov, General Director of Rusatom Service. “A large amount of work was carried out: the overhaul of the turbine generator was completed, an instrumental examination of the drives of the control and protection systems of the reactor was carried out, the instruments for non-destructive testing of metal were checked. Also, the plant was prepared for the modernisation of the reactor core emergency cooling system and for the annealing of the reactor vessel. An annealing unit was delivered to the station, and work on its assembly has already been completed,” he noted.

“Before the plant shutdown, it is still necessary to modernise the 250-ton cranes in the reactor hall, which are necessary for the installation of the annealing unit. It will also be necessary to unload fuel and heavy equipment from the reactor,” said plant General Director Eduard Martirosyan. “After the successful implementation of all planned activities this year, the State Committee for Nuclear Safety Regulation under the Government of Armenia will extend the licence for the operation of the station until 2026. In addition, after the annealing procedure at the NPP, the physical and mechanical properties of the reactor vessel will be restored so that the plant can be operated after 2026.”

The Armenian NPP, with two Soviet-supplied VVER-440-V230 units was built in the 1970s but was closed following a devastating earthquake in 1988. However, unit 2 was recommissioned with Russian help in 1995 in face of severe energy shortages. In March 2014, the Armenian government decided to extend the plant’s service life up to 2026. The work, now underway, was supported by a Russian loan and grant. The NPP currently accounts for 39% of Armenia's total electricity generation.

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