15 Feb 2024 16:33

Pashinyan plans to attend IAEA's nuclear energy summit in Brussels in March - Belgian ambassador to Armenia

YEREVAN. Feb 15 (Interfax) - Armenian Prime Minister Nikol Pashinyan will take part in the first-ever summit on nuclear energy organized by the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) and Belgium.

Brussels will host the Nuclear Energy Summit on March 21, and Pashinyan has confirmed his intention to attend it, Belgian Ambassador to Armenia Eric de Muynck said in an interview with Armenia's Armenpress state news agency.

The IAEA said on its website that the summit should be the highest-level meeting to date exclusively focused on nuclear energy and would be co-chaired by IAEA Director General Rafael Grossi and Belgian Prime Minister Alexander De Croo.

Speaking in January, Pashinyan said that, even though he was not an expert in the professional nuances, he viewed the possible construction of small modular nuclear reactors in Armenia as a promising and politically appealing option.

Coordinator of the United States Department of State's Office of the Coordinator for Assistance to Europe, Eurasia, and Central Asia Maria Longi said earlier that the U.S. was considering the possible construction of small modular reactors in Armenia.

Pashinyan said in May 2023 that Armenia was in negotiations with Russia and the U.S. on building a new nuclear power plant.

As was reported in November 2022, Armenia signed a memorandum with Russia's Rosatom state atomic energy corporation on constructing a new nuclear power unit in the country, and a preliminary feasibility study is now being conducted.

Specialists from Armenia and Russia began negotiations on designing a future new nuclear power unit in summer 2022. In particular, they considered a standard 1-1.3 GW VVER pressurized-water reactor.

Armenian Territorial Administration and Infrastructure Minister Gnel Sanosyan said in October 2021 that Armenia planned to start NPP construction in 2026-2027 and begin operating a new NPP after shutting down the currently operating Armenian NPP in 2036.

The Armenian NPP is currently among the primary sources of electricity in Armenia. It operates the only VVER-440 first-generation reactor, and Rosatom's TVEL company supplies nuclear fuel for it.