IAEA head Yukiya Amano is currently in Armenia to discuss issues relating to the Armenian Nuclear Power Plant.
The issue became urgent not only for the expiry of the Armenian NPP and security issues but also the Turkish and Azerbaijan efforts to have the Armenian NPP closed.
Turkey and Azerbaijan with which Armenia has no diplomatic relations insist on the closure of the Armenian NPP, referring to its location in an active seismic area. At the same time, they are obviously pursuing political goals.
First, the Armenian NPP supplies the demand for electricity and ruins their plans of the blockade of Armenia. Second, Armenia produces relatively cheap electric power and generates profit from the NPP. Third, the presence of the NPP and access to nuclear technology boost the status and geopolitical security of our country.
In this regard, Armenia insists that the Armenian NPP is not a threat to regional security. Note that the U.S. and Russia, as well as the IAEA spent a lot of money to enhance the security of the Armenian NPP. The latest tests proved it is safe.
During the next session of the government of Armenia, the issue of extension of the term of exploitation of the NPP will be discussed. The Ministry of Energy has been instructed to work out a program by May 5 to extend the term. The justification for this decision is the following: energy security and independence of Armenia, as well as considering the possible time of construction (dates not specified) of the new nuclear power.
The second reactor of the Armenian NPP received the license in 2011 to be exploited for another 10 years. However, the date of exploitation expires on 1 September 2016.
Armenia cannot find investors for the construction of the new NPP. Most probably, the point is not economy but politics. Will Armenia be able to convince the great powers that the existence of the NPP on its territory is of strategic importance? Or has the Turkish lobby already worked with their governments.
What is Russia’s position on this issue? Although Russia has promised to finance ¼ of the total sum of construction of the new NPP, it is inventing political obstacles to find the resting sum. It is clear that if Armenia doesn’t have an NPP, it will have to buy more gas from Russia.
The Armenian society is not too keen on the fact that a few dozen kilometers from the capital, a nuclear power plant is operating. Everyone understands the risks, understands that no one can give an absolute guarantee, but they also understand that without the NPP Armenia will have a tough political and economic time.