YEREVAN, June 1. /ARKA/. Armenia will sign a new agreement with the U.S. on nuclear energy cooperation. A decision to this effect made at a government meeting on Thursday will be submitted to the Armenian president for signing.
The Nuclear Safety Regulatory Commission of Armenia has been cooperating with the U.S. since 1995. In September 1997, an agreement on technical cooperation was signed, which was prolonged in 2007 and 2017.
Under the agreements Armenia received technical support both on seismic safety and radioactive substances conservation in the nuclear power plants. Also, the Armenian side received assistance in the form of instruments.
In March 2023, an expanded draft agreement was drawn up. It includes, in particular, provisions concerning retraining of NPP personnel, as well as the development of safety standards.
Maria Longi, a State Department official coordinating U.S. aid to the former Soviet Union, told a congressional hearing in Washington in May that "In a number of countries, including Armenia, we are assessing the feasibility of small modular nuclear reactors built with US technology that could facilitate greater energy independence from both Russia and China."
Armenian Prime Minister Nikol Pashinyan said at a cabinet meeting in late May that his government was very actively negotiating with Russia, the U.S. and third countries construction of a new nuclear power plant.
He said an Armenian government delegation will visit the U.S. soon to take a close look at the small modular reactors (SMRs) designed by US companies.
"American technologies will give an opportunity to construct modules with a capacity of up to 300 MW, gradually building up the existing capacities," the Prime Minister said.
In 2022, the Armenian government and Rusatom Overseas (a unit of Russian state atomic corporation) signed a MOU to look into construction of a new nuclear power unit in Armenia
The Armenian Nuclear Power Plant is located some 30 kilometers west of Yerevan. It was built in the 1970s but was closed following a devastating earthquake in 1988. One of its two VVER 440-V230 light-water reactors was reactivated in 1995.
In March 2014, Armenian government decided to extend the plant's service life up to 2026. The extension was financed by a Russian $270 million loan and a $30 million grant.
In June, 2022 the Armenian NPP CJSC and the Rusatom Overseas JSC (a division of Russian state atomic concern Rosatom) signed a MoU to start preparations for building a new nuclear power unit in Armenia. --0--