No reason to close Armenian nuclear plant – director

No reason to close Armenian nuclear plant – director

Azg, Yerevan
17 Apr 04

By Tatul Akopyan

The chief director of the Armenian Metsamor Nuclear Power Plant (NPP),
Gagik Markosyan, said yesterday that he sees no reason for shutting
down the plant in the near future. Saying that even the most modern
nuclear plants will be shut down one day, he added that as long as the
Metsamor plant is functioning, Armenia should derive the most possible
economic benefit from it.

Talking about alternative sources of energy in Armenia, Markosyan said
that it is desirable to develop them, but no country can “live” only
on alternative sources of energy. The director of the Metsamor NPP
said that the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) assessed the
current technical condition of the plant as positive.

Markosyan could not say for sure to what extent the safety of the
Metsamor plant corresponds to that of European nuclear power plants,
for safety mostly depends on the age of the plant. The Armenian
government, with the assistance of the United States and the European
Union, is taking measures to increase the safety of the Metsamor NPP
every year. Despite the increasing security measures, both the USA and
the EU continue to demand the closure of the NPP, failing to indicate
an alternative source of energy for Armenia.

The Atomic Energy Safety Council (AESC) under the Armenian president
yesterday held its 7th regular session which was attended by [Armenian
President] Robert Kocharyan, the chairman of the council, Adolf
Birkhofer, and members of the council from Russia, Germany, France,
Britain, Slovakia and Armenia.

Addressing the session of the AESC, an independent consultancy agency
set up in 1996 to deal exclusively with the affairs of the Metsamor
plant, President Kocharyan said that a lot of work had been done to
boost the safety of the nuclear power plant, and assured them that the
Armenian government is guided by the principle of the consistent
strengthening of the nuclear plant’s safety.