Supplies of equipment to extend the life of unit 2 of the Armenian NPP at Metsamor are expected to begin in November 2017, the Armenian Ministry of Energy Infrastructures and Natural Resources said on 14 August. Work is underway to hold tenders and conclude contracts for the equipment. Hayk Badalyan, head of the energy department at the Ministry said 16 agreements for the provision of services had been submitted for approval to the Ministries of Finance of Armenia and Russia in the first half of the year as part of the life extension programme.
The NPP’s two Soviet supplied VVER-440 reactors, commissioned in 1977 and 1980, were closed down in March 1989, after the December 1988 earthquake in Spitak that killed 25,000 people. Unit 2 was re-launched in November 1995 in face of an acute energy crisis. Its 30-year design life expired in 2016 but in September 2013, Russian President Vladimir Putin said Russian state nuclear corporation Rosatom and Armenian experts had agreed to extend the life of the unit for 10 years.
In May 2015 the Armenian parliament approved a contract with Russia related to the life extension and Russian state nuclear corporation Rosatom confirmed in June 2015 that the contract had been signed worth $300m. The Life extension is being financed through loans of $270m and a $30m grant from Russia. Armenia said in 2016 that commercial operation of unit 2 would be extended until 2027 and last December the first phase of a feasibility study was completed for the work. Laws are now being drawn up relating to the decommissioning of unit 1 at the NPP and the investment plan for the unit 2 extension, Badalyan said.