Russian fuel arrives at Metsamor

3 August 2003

The only operating reactor in Armenia went back online last month, following the delivery of 103 fuel assemblies from Russia.

The VVER-440 reactor in Metsamor has been off line since the beginning of April. The fuel was purchased by Russia's non-nuclear power company RAO EES. The head of the RAO EES export department, Yuri Sharow, said the fuel purchase was part of an arrangement by which his company would take over the management of Metsamor's financial affairs.

Armenian energy minister Armen Movsisyan said the transfer of the plant's financial management to Russia was linked to his country's "economic expectations". As well as meeting Armenia's own domestic electricity requirements, the Metsamor unit is capable of generating additional electricity that could be exported. Armenia's government hopes that Russia would help to arrange exports to countries such as Azerbaijan and Turkey.

Separately, an on-site dry storage facility has now been filled following the deposit of an 11th canister of spent fuel from the Metsamor plant. A second storage facility is likely to be established in the future.

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