Armenia Signs Deal To Upgrade Nuclear Waste Facility


RIA Novosti, Russia
Oct 3 2005

YEREVAN, October 3 (RIA Novosti, Gamlet Matevosyan) – An agreement
to upgrade the radioactive waste management facility at the Armenian
Nuclear Power Plant (NPP) was signed Monday, a senior official said.

Gagik Markosyan, the plant’s general director, said the agreement
had been signed by the Armenian NPP and France’s Ñogema Logistic.

“The French company will provide the technology to build a nuclear
waste storage facility using the dry-burial method, along with
consulting services,” he said, adding that the agreement stipulated
the construction of 24 additional modules, each containing 56 cassettes
of spent nuclear fuel.

Markosyan said the project would be funded by the Armenian
government but did not reveal the overall cost, citing the deal’s
confidentiality. He said $1.89 million had been allocated to the
project this year.

The first additional storage facility is scheduled to be operational
in 2007.

The Armenian NPP produces 40% of the country’s electricity and will
remain operational until 2016, according to experts.

In September 2003, the plant came under the five-year trust management
of INTER RAO UES, a subsidiary of Rosenergoatom and Russia’s RAO UES
electricity monopoly.

The European Union has insisted that Armenia shut down the nuclear
power plant, offering 100 million euros in aid. But Armenian experts
have said the construction of alternative power generating facilities
would cost the country about a billion euros.


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