2 May 2023 17:47

Likhachev and Pashinyan discuss building new power unit at NPP in Armenia

YEREVAN. May 2 (Interfax) - Armenian Prime Minister Nikol Pashinyan and the General Director of Rosatom State Corporation Alexei Likhachev discussed the construction of a new nuclear power plant in the republic on Tuesday, the press service of the Armenian government said.

At a meeting in Yerevan, Pashinyan spoke about the importance of Armenia's cooperation with Rosatom, with whom a number of joint projects are being successfully implemented. Pashinyan noted the role of Rosatom in extending the life of the Armenian NPP.

Likhachev stressed that Rosatom is interested in continuing cooperation with Armenia.

They also exchanged views on cooperation in the field of nuclear medicine, and the disposal of hazardous waste at Yerevan's Nairit rubber plant.

In November 2022, it was reported that Armenia had signed a memorandum with Rosatom on the construction of a new nuclear power unit in the republic, and that work is underway on a preliminary feasibility study.

In the summer of 2022, experts from Armenia and Russia began negotiations on a project for a future new nuclear power unit in the republic. They specifically discussed a variant of a typical standard VVER power unit (pressure-water power reactor) with a capacity of 1-1.3 GW.

Earlier, in October 2021, the Minister of Territorial Administration and Infrastructure of the Republic said that Armenia plans to start construction of a new nuclear power plant in 2026-2027. The country plans to start operating the new nuclear power plant after the termination of the operation of the existing plant in 2036, he said.

At present, the Armenian Nuclear Power Plant is one of the main sources of electricity in the country. There is only one unit operating at the station, with a first generation VVER-440 reactor. The fuel supplier for it is TVEL.

At the end of March 2023, it was reported that Rosatom was discussing participating in the project to eliminate the waste at two now closed chemical plants in Armenia, Nairit and Vanadzor-Khimprom.

Nairit was one of the flagships of the chemical industry in the USSR, and was a major rubber producer. In 1989, under pressure from the environmental movement, the company closed. A few years later, the government of now independent Armenia decided to re-launch the plant, but the sales markets had already been lost. Over the decades, the company has passed from one owner to another, and accumulated huge debts. Since 2010, the plant has been idle, and the bankruptcy process has started.