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Reports suggest Russia could also be in running for contract

The Armenian-2 nuclear power plant provides about 28% of the country’s electricity generation.

Armenia and the US have “entered a very substantive stage” of discussions about the possibility of building a new nuclear power station, according to the secretary of Armenia’s security council, Armen Grigoryan.

“We are discussing the legal framework without which we cannot advance,” Grigoryan told a conference in Yerevan, according to local press reports. “At the moment, I can say that the ball is in the US’s court.”

Grigoryan said Armenia expects that the internal procedures in the US will be completed, “after which we will begin to work”.

He said Yerevan is trying to diversify economic relations with international partners to enhance energy security.

In May 2023, Armenian prime minister Nikol Pashinyan confirmed that his country’s single nuclear power plant, the Russia-supplied Armenian-2, will be shut down in 2036, but affirmed his support for negotiations to find a partner to build new nuclear units.

In an address to the Armenian parliament, Pashinyan said negotiations were underway with several partners, including from Russia and the US, on the construction of a new nuclear power plant to replace capacity that will be lost from the closure of the 416 MW Armenian-2.

According to the International Atomic Energy Agency, Armenian-2 provides about 28% of the country’s electricity generation.

Armenian-2, at Metsamor, 30km outside of the Armenian capital of Yerevan, began commercial operation in 1980. It was shut down after a major earthquake struck the region in 1988 and remained offline until 1995, when it was reopened in an independent Armenia then struggling to meet demand for electric power.

The VVER-440 pressurised water reactor unit had an initial operating lifetime of 30 years starting in 1996 and set to expire in 2026. In March 2023, Armenian authorities granted an extra 10 years of operation until 2036 subject to maintenance works.

The prime minister’s comments suggest there will be no more extensions to its working life with 2036 established as a hard deadline for its retirement.

Date: Wednesday, 10 July 2024
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