Azerbaijan, Baku, Nov. 24 / Trend E. Tariverdiyeva /
The Russian company Inter RAO is dissatisfied with the terms of governance of Armenia's Nuclear Power Plant (NPP) and wishes to terminate the agreement on operating the Metsamor based nuke plant, the Russian paper Komersant reported.
"As an alternative it has proposed that the Rosatom State Nuclear Energy Corporation is more interested in the construction of a new energy block," the newspaper said. "However, it has more interest in the construction of a new power block in Armenia, rather than the management of the existing one."
"INTER RAO UES Holding is now negotiating with Armenia over the terms of governance. Nuclear energy is a secondary activity for Inter-RAO, that could entail sharply increase the risk factor," the source said, adding that Inter-RAO and Rosatom are now conducting negotiations. The Holding company refused making any official comment.
The Metsamor NPP was built in 1970. After the devastating Spitak earthquake, the plant's activity had been suspended, but in 1995 despite international protests, the work of the station was reactivated and in addition, a second reactor was launched.
Given the large number of minor earthquakes in the past 10 years in this area, as well as the intensification of seismic readings indicated by seismologist research, in the case of a big accident taking place at Metsamor, not only Armenia, but also all countries in the Southern Caucasus and the Middle East would be seriously affected.
A source familiar with the situation said that Inter RAO and Rosatom started negotiations on the possible transfer of Armenia's Nuclear Power Plant under the state corporation's control. He said that Inter RAO would like to give up managing the station (the company receives a certain fixed amount), as soon as practicable.
But it is not clear whether Inter RAO will manage to agree with Rosatom. A source in the state corporation said that the company is not interested in managing the current block of Armenia's Nuclear Power Plant.
Firstly Rosatom deals with the project of building a new unit at this station with the capacity of over 1 GW. Metsamorenergoatom must construct a new unit in 2017 which will be a joint venture of Atomstroyexport (the division of Rosatom that builds a nuclear power plant abroad) and the Armenian Ministry of Economy and Natural Resources. The investments in the project were previously estimated at $4-5 billion. Rosatom also supplies fuel to Armenia's Nuclear Power Plant.