19 Aug 2010 15:34

Armenia to announce tender this fall to select investor for nuclear block construction

YEREVAN. Aug 19 (Interfax) - Armenia will announce a tender this fall to select an investor for construction of a new nuclear block at the Armenian Nuclear Power Plant, Energy and Natural Resources Minister Armen Movsisyan told journalists on Thursday.

The tender documentation is currently being completed, he said.

Russia and other countries are interested in the contract, he said. "In two-three months we will announce the tender. There is a lot of interest in this project," he said.

An agreement covering Russia's financial and technical participation in construction of a 1,060-megawatt nuclear block with a service life of 60 years will be signed with Rosatom chief Sergei Kirienko on August 20, he said.

Armenia has already picked out the Russian reactor that will be installed in the new block at the Metsamor plant.

The service life of the existing nuclear block, which is scheduled for closing when the new block begins operation, may be extended to 2019-2020.

The agreement to be signed with Rosatom makes the Russian corporation and the Armenian Energy and Natural Resources Ministry the authorized bodies for construction of the nuclear block. Atomstroyexport, a Rosatom company, will be the general contractor. Armenia undertakes to provide favorable investment conditions, which will ensure that investment is recouped in 20 years.

The Armenian government approved formation of a 50-50 joint venture with Atomstroyexport - CJSC Metsamorenergatom - for construction of the new nuclear block on December 4, 2009. The project will cost about $4 billion according to preliminary estimates.