Armenia says it will begin new nuke plant in 2011

Publish date: October 9, 2008

Armenian Deputy Energy Minister Arega Galstyan said that is country will begin building a nuclear power plant in 2011, a project that will be facilitated by the passage of a bill allow the build to go ahead.

Currently, a tender is underway to chose a firm to build the new 1000 megawatt nuclear power reactor, the Caucasus Knot news agency said. The new reactor will built at the plant Armenia currently operates, and will take some five to seven years to build, the agency reported.

Armenia’ current plant consists of two reactors which went into service in 1976 and 1980. After the 1988 earthquake in Armenia, the station was shut down by order of the Soviet Government. In 1995, the station was allowed to fire up its second reactor unit.

The plant currently produced 2 billion kilowatts of energy a year. The prospective development plan for Armenia’s electrical sector relies on two variants – a nuclear path or a non-nuclear path. In 2006, the Armenian government announced that the engineered life spans of the Armenian Nuclear Power Plant would expire in 2016. Armenia, having signed a plan of action within the framework of “New European Neighbor” programme, was obligated by the terms of this programme to shut down its aging plant as quickly as possible.

The European Union was the prime driving force behind ording the shut-down of the Armenian plant as it does not meet contemporary safty standards. Those countries who have so far stepped forth to offer their help in building Armenia’s new reactor include the United States, France, and Russia.