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Russia or USA? Who will build the new nuclear reactor in Armenia?

Whether a new nuclear power plant will be built in Armenia, and by whom, remains an open question.

Today, Nuclear Engineering International (NEI), a monthly civil nuclear power industry magazine, writes that Armenia and the United States are discussing the possibility of building a new nuclear power plant (NPP), despite news last year that Armenia and Russia were also discussing the same topic.

“We are discussing the legal framework without which we cannot move forward. Now I can say that the ball is in the United States' court. We expect the internal procedures in the United States to be completed, after which we will start work,” NEI writes quoting.

Grigoryan said Yerevan is trying to diversify economic relations with international partners to improve energy security.

Armenia's Metzamor Nuclear Power Plant consists of two Russian-built 376 MWe VVER reactors that came into operation in 1976 and 1980. Both units were taken out of service in 1988 due to safety concerns related to vulnerabilities seismic. Unit 2 was restarted in 1995 and accounts for approximately 39% of total electricity generation in the country.

In 2023, Armenia announced that it will pay $65 million to Rosatom Service, a subsidiary of the Russian state nuclear company Rosatom, to extend the life of the second unit of the Metzamor nuclear power plant until 2036.

Armenian Prime Minister Nikol Pashinyan said in January 2024 that Armenia intends to build a new nuclear power plant within 8-10 years and that various options are being studied, including technologies from Russia, the United States and South Korea.

Any new nuclear power plant in Armenia will cost between $3 billion and $5 billion, industry experts estimate.

Rosatom officials visited Yerevan in June 2023 and met with local and international industry specialists and management of the Armenian Metzamor Nuclear Power Plant.

Turbine Technology AAEM LLC General Director Ilya Vergizaev has proposed a new power plant with a capacity of 1,000-1,200 megawatts to replace Metzamor Unit Two, which produces 400 megawatts.

Not all experts believe that Armenia needs such a high-powered nuclear bloc.

Vahram Petrosyan, chairman of the board of directors of the state-owned Armenian Nuclear Power Plant (ANPP) CJSC, which operates Metzamor, believes the country would do better with two smaller plants, each with a capacity of 500-600 megawatts.

Petrosyan said last year that Armenia's electricity demand does not exceed 1,200 megawatts and that hydroelectric, solar and thermal plants can easily make up the difference. It must also be said that these are hic et nunc figures, so they risk not taking into account the country's development prospects. The availability of stable and affordable energy would allow us to lay the foundations for one

Yerevan's growing rapprochement with the West has been welcomed by Washington.

In May 2022, US Secretary of State Antony Blinken and Armenian Foreign Minister Ararat Mirzoyan signed a memorandum of understanding on “strategic nuclear cooperation”.

The NEI writes that a senior US State Department official said in 2023 that Washington is “evaluating the feasibility” of building a nuclear plant equipped with small modular reactors (SMRs) in Armenia, noting that US technology could make Armenia less dependent on Russia for energy. Furthermore, a small number of SMRs could be built in less time and be adapted to any growing energy demands of the country.

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The article Russia or USA? Who will build the new nuclear reactor in Armenia? comes from Economic Scenarios .

This is a machine translation of a post published on Scenari Economici at the URL https://scenarieconomici.it/russia-o-usa-chi-realizzera-il-nuovo-reattore-nucleare-in-armenia/ on Wed, 10 Jul 2024 05:15:14 +0000.