YEREVAN, December 23. /ARKA/. The service life of the Armenian nuclear power plant in Metsamor can be extended until 2046, Territorial Administration and Infrastructure Minister Suren Papikyan told reporters on Monday. He said the current modernization of the facility financed by a Russian loan will extend the service life of the plant until 2036, and theoretically, the nuclear power plant may operate until 2046.
The minister emphasized that the Armenian authorities have obligations to provide the population with cheap electricity. He said in view of the country’s transport blockade by Turkey and Azerbaijan the government can so far meet this obligation at the expense of nuclear power plant and will continue to do so until alternative sources are found. He said the construction of a new nuclear power plant in Armenia is not discussed now.
He said also the government is looking for alternative sources of electricity, including the possibility of expanding the program “Gas for Electricity” implemented with Iran. It is considering also the possible imports of energy resources from Kazakhstan.
“If there are cheaper energy resources, we should take advantage of that, and this opportunity has now appeared in the framework of the Eurasian Economic Union, of which both Armenia and Kazakhstan are members,” said Papikyan.
The Armenian Nuclear Power Plant is located some 30 kilometers west of Yerevan. It was built in the 1970s but was closed following a devastating earthquake in 1988. One of its two VVER 440-V230 light-water reactors was reactivated in 1995.
In March 2014, the Armenian government decided to extend the plant’s service life up to 2026. The service life extension has become possible thanks to Russia’s financial resources. The country provided $270 million to Armenia as a loan and $30 million as a grant.