Upgrading continues at Armenian NPP

7 December 2018

Upgrading of unit 2 at the Armenian nuclear plant, scheduled to be carried out in 2018 and 2019 will increase the capacity of the plant by 10%, raising the average annual output to about 2.9TWh of electricity, acting Minister of Energy Infrastructures and Natural Resources Garegin Baghramyan said on 27 November. This could bring down the price of electricity, he noted.

The work will include replacement of the second turbine generator in 2019, making it possible to produce 400-500GWh more electricity. Russian specialists completed modernisation of the first turbine in November as well as replacing separators, steam superheaters, the excitation system, conductors and the block transformer.

The two-unit Armenian NPP, located at Metsamor, was built in the 1970s but was closed following a devastating earthquake in 1988. However, one of its two VVER 440-V230 light-water reactors was restarted with Russian assistance in 1995 in face of severe energy shortages, and currently generates some 35% of Armenia's electricity.

The Armenian authorities planned to build a new plant to replace the ageing facility, but the project has faced financial and political difficulties. In 2014, the government decided to extend the plant’s service life to 2026 because of delays in building the new unit. The extension was made possible by a Russian loan of $270 million and a $30 million grant.  Baghramyan said that the Ministry of Finance has asked Russia to extend the repayment period of the $270 million loan to 2026. The modernisation project will be completed by the end of 2021.

Meanwhile, Armenia is continuing negotiations with potential investors for construction of the new plant, Baghramyan said in November. He added that said “specific proposals” had come from Russian, French and Chinese investors. “We must study all the proposals, understand how attractive and compatible they are with our conditions, after which we must take the appropriate decision,” he said.

Photo: Metsamor nuclear plant

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