Visit: IAEA experts will test Armenian Nuclear Power Plant

Visit: IAEA experts will test Armenian Nuclear Power Plant


The Operation Safety Team of the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) arrived in Yerevan May 16 to conduct stress tests at the Armenian Nuclear Power Plant in Metsamor.

The team involves specialists from nine countries who will spend two weeks in Armenia to study the security level of the plant.

The Armenian NPP plant was built to withstand up to a 9-magnitude earthquake and at present, it meets the IAEA safety standards. However, in the wake of Japan’s 2011 Fukushima nuclear crisis, the combination of the design and location of the Armenian NPP has been claimed to make it among the most dangerous nuclear plants in the world. The Fukushima disaster has caused EU member states to think of measures towards raising their nuclear safety standards to a higher level.

Earlier Armenian Minister of Energy Armen Movsisyan said that Armenia would not stop using nuclear energy even after the Japan disaster.

The Armenian NPP which produces about 40 percent of Armenia’s electricity was built during the 1970s, about thirty kilometers west of the Armenian capital. It is one of the very few remaining nuclear reactors of its kind that were built without primary containment structures.

The plant has been operated by Russian company Inter RAO UES since 2003 to help pay off Armenia’s debts.

Meanwhile, Foreign Policy Journal, a leading online publication dedicated to providing critical analysis of U.S. foreign policy, in an article late last week raised more questions over the Armenian NPP, including those related to regional affairs.

“Not only does the plant lie on a physical fault line, but it is also located in a politically unstable neighborhood, intersected by ethnic and sectarian divisions, especially with Azerbaijan and Turkey, the latter two being at loggerheads with Armenia over political, territorial, and valid environmental safety issues,” the journal wrote.

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