EU Wants Armenian Metsamor NPP Closed

The European Union wants Armenia to close its Metsamor Nuclear Power Plant, but the Armenians refuse to dismantle the facility until a replacement is operational. Metsamor currently provides 40% of the country’s electricity.

The Metsamor NPP was constructed during the 1970’s approximately 30 kilometers west of the Armenian capital, Yerevan. The facility was built with two VVER-440 model V320 nuclear reactors, but this technology is no longer considered acceptable by modern safety standards.

Metsamor is located in an eartthquake-hazard region, where strong earthquakes constantly occur. The plant is operated by Inter RAO UES, a Russian company, as part of a five-year deal to help pay off Armenian debts.

Armenia plans to build a new nuclear plant with a capacity of either 1,000 or 1,200 MW. Projected project costs are between $4 billion and $7.2 billion. Construction may start in 2011 and the new facility is expected to go online in 2017. The United States and France have indicated their willingness to help Armenia replace Metsamor. Russia is also expected to cooperate with the Armenian government.

The European Union is concerned about safety due to both the use of old technology and location in an actively seismic area. EU appears determined to close all nuclear plants using outdated technology as soon as possible, even if that means exerting huge pressures on the governments of countries with these old plants.

It will be interesting to see if Russia eventually takes the lead in building a new facility, instead of the US or France. This is one of those cases that confounds me - I hate seeing another new nuclear plant built in the world, but without a new nuclear facility, what would Armenia do to meet its energy needs? I feel the same way about Ukraine - I don’t want them building more nuclear plants, but they don’t have many sensible, clean alternatives either. If a country needs to use nuclear power, I would rather see them use new, safe technology than something outdated and dangerous.

Photo: Bouarf - Gnu Free Doc Lic 1.2

1 Comments

This is a nice concept and that i count on to see a increasingly creativity in using our people to contribute thier part on the development