Associated Press Worldstream
July 30, 2004 Friday 5:53 AM Eastern Time
Armenia’s only nuclear plant to begin capital repairs, refueling
Authorities said Friday they would begin capital repairs to and
refueling of Armenia’s only nuclear power station, the source of
nearly 40 percent of the country’s power and repeated international
concerns over safety.
Gagik Markosian, general director of the Medzamor plant, 30
kilometers (20 miles) west of the capital Yerevan, said the plant
will shut down early Saturday morning for at least two months for
repairs on the reactor core.
“We also plan to remove all nuclear fuel from the reactor and conduct
full inspection of the condition of the reactor’s metal container
shell,” Markosian said.
Last week, the plant took delivery of a new supply of nuclear fuel at
a cost of US$12 million, he said.
The former Soviet republic has been under pressure to shut the plant
down due to safety concerns; it was taken out of operation after a
devastating 1988 earthquake.
In 1995, it returned to service amid a severe energy shortage.
Armenia has since resisted shutting down the plant, which has one
working Soviet-made reactor supplying 40 percent of the country’s
electricity, fearing that alternative sources may be hard to come by.
Armenian officials say the European Union is ready to provide up to
100 million euro (US$120 million) for Yerevan to close the plant.
However, developing other sources of electricity could cost up to
US$1 billion (1.2 billion euro), Armenian officials say.
Russia’s electricity monopoly assumed financial control of the
nuclear plant last year in a deal that Armenia sought to get out from
under massive energy debts to Russian fuel suppliers.
The plant, however, remains the property of the Armenian government.
From: Emil Lazarian | Ararat NewsPress