The Armenian nuclear power plant in Metsamor will be under repair in 2021, which will last 140 days, according to the head of the Public Services Regulatory Commission (PSRC) Garegin Baghramyan.
Baghramyan announced details in parliament on 3 November during discussion of the draft budget. He noted that the outage would be longer than the usual 45 days in order to allow for extensive repair and maintenance work to enable extension of the plant’s operating life.
The work will involve restoration annealing the reactor pressure vessel, modernisation of the emergency core cooling system, and of the reliable power supply system.
Equipment for the annealing (heat treatment) of the reactor vessel metal has already been delivered to the nuclear power plant site.
Modernisation of the nuclear power plant was financed under a preferential credit line of up to $270 million and a grant of $30 million from the Russian government. However, some of the work was delayed and Armenia asked to postpone payments on the loan for a year, until the end of 2021. No agreement was reached and Armenia decided to stop using the credit line, and to finance the rest of the work from the state budget. In June, the government allocated a budget loan of AMD63.2 billion ($130 million), which will be provided in 2020-2022.
However, Rusatom Service (a subsidiary of the Russia’s Rosatom) will remain the general contractor for the repairs, and tenders for the replacement of equipment and work will continue to be conducted without any country restrictions.
The Armenian NPP, comprising two Soviet-supplied VVER-440 units, was built in the 1970s, but was closed following the Spitak earthquake in 1988. Unit 2 was restarted with Russian assistance in 1995 in the face of severe energy shortages.
The nuclear power plant generates about a third of the electricity consumed in Armenia. more electricity. Baghramyan also noted that there was no panic at the Armenian NPP in connection with Azerbaijan's threats to launch a missile strike at the station. He said measures have been put in place to ensure continued power supply should the NPP be closed down.