Armenian nuclear power plant provides almost a third of the country's electricity needs. This is the only nuclear power plant in the South Caucasus region. It is currently in operation, but its future is in doubt.
The Armenian Nuclear Power Plant is located near the city of Metsamor, which is located 30 km south of the capital of the state. The station has two units equipped with VVER-440 reactors manufactured in the Russian Federation. These first generation units deliver 440 MW (electrical) and 1375 MW (thermal).
In 2012, Armenia produced more than 8 billion kWh of electricity. Approximately 29% of them were at the nuclear power plant. The location of the object is the main drawback, about which numerous discussions still do not subside. In the event of an emergency, the reactor core must be cooled with large amounts of water. And it may simply not be enough, because the nuclear power plant is located high in the mountains.
The construction of this very complex structure from an engineering point of view, with a large number of complex equipment, required close attention to workall subcontractors who install mechanisms. The volume of work performed is amazing, more than 6 million m3 of soil was excavated from the pit alone.3 soil.
In 1976, the Armenian NPP was put into operation. The first block has started. The nearest city from the station is Metsamor, the name of which is sometimes attributed to the nuclear power plant. The settlement is completely dependent on the operation of the nuclear power plant.
Together with the construction of the station, the construction of the infrastructure of Metsamor was going on. For a huge staff of employees, the necessary conditions for life in the city were created. A school, a kindergarten, a medical institution, and cultural facilities were being built.
After the launch of the station, measures were taken to improve its work. Some units were replaced to improve the reliability and safety of nuclear power plants.
The project of the facility was created in 1969. The construction work was supervised by the Institute of Atomic Energy. Kurchatov. In 1980, power unit No. 2 was launched. There were plans to create units 3 and 4. However, the accident at the Chernobyl nuclear power plant forced the freeze of all projects.
In December 1988, a massive earthquake hit the country. In the area of the nuclear power plant, the force of the shocks was 6.25 points. The energy facility did not receive any damage, which was confirmed by the results of the work of a specially created commission that examined the buildings, structures and equipment of the station. However, seismic activity in the country forced the government of the Armenian SSR to decide onshutdown of both NPP units in February and March next year.
In 1993, the energy situation in the state became tense. The governing body of the Republic of Armenia decided to start restoration work at the nuclear power plant. After 2 years, power unit No. 2 was put into operation. It now provides approximately 40% of the country's electricity needs.
Who owns the Armenian NPP
The station is the property of the government of the republic. It also owns all 100% of the shares of the nuclear power plant and, by law, cannot sell them. In 2003, papers were signed, according to which the financial activities of the enterprise passed under the control of Inter RAO UES. The agreement was to be valid until 2013.
However, at the end of 2011, the Russian company terminated the contract without waiting for its expiration. At the beginning of the next year, the Ministry of Energy of the Republic of Armenia began to manage the finances.
How long will the Armenian NPP work? The owner (represented by the government) said that the operation of the nuclear power plant will last until 2026
Specialists believe that the station can only operate until 2016. Their main concerns are related to the high seismicity of the region, as well as morally and physically obsolete equipment. It has been serving for several decades without modernization and replacement. The desire of the European Union for these reasons to mothball the nuclear power plant is so great that it is ready to allocate 200 billion euros for this.
ExacerbationThe situation occurred after the disaster at the Japanese station "Fukushima-1", where the integrity of the blocks was broken as a result of an earthquake. At the Armenian NPP, they simulated such an impact and came to the conclusion that it would not lead to any destruction.
The only decision taken by the Republic of Armenia is to freeze plans for a new nuclear power plant. However, only for a while.
The country needs a new nuclear power plant, the construction of which requires $5 billion. Without it, the state will lose its dependence on foreign electricity. For these reasons, the government extended the life of the nuclear power plant by a decade.
The authorities are looking for investors who can finance this project. Armenia even gave up its monopoly on energy blocs. A number of countries have expressed their interest in the construction. There is hope that the financial issue will be resolved in the near future, and the state will receive a modern nuclear power plant.
Armenian NPP: accident
The biggest accident occurred at the station on 10/15/1982 - a fire in the engine room of the first power unit. The fire extinguishing continued for about 7 hours by 110 firefighters.
Why don't Armenian nuclear power plants work? The answer to this question is not related to the accidents that occurred at the station. Firstly, the Armenian NPP is currently functioning. Secondly, the future of nuclear energy depends on investment and financial solutions.