YEREVAN. June 6 (Interfax) - Armenian Prime Minister Nikol Pashinyan has formed an interagency working group on the construction of a new nuclear power plant in the country.
The working group has been formed to do an analysis of the advisability of building a new nuclear power plant and deploying small modular reactors, select the necessary technologies and prioritize actions to be taken, Pashinyan's decision, posted on the government's website, said.
The deputy CEO of the Armenian Nuclear Power Plant, Movses Vardanyan said at a roundtable on nuclear energy as a way to ensure Armenia's energy security and independence on Monday that the country is considering the advisability of installing South Korean nuclear units and U.S. modular reactors, as well as proposals from Russia and France.
"With what country Armenia will work is already a political decision. We must take into account the possibilities of safe operation of the units," Vardanyan told reporters.
He also said Armenia does not have any problems with Russian state nuclear corporation Rosatom. "Rosatom is our main partner. Our projects are developed by Russian companies," Vardanyan said.
The first deputy CEO and executive director of Rusatom Energy Projects, Ilya Vergizayev said that Russian technologies will make it possible to not build a new nuclear power plant in Armenia "from scratch."
"Russian technologies will make it possible to build a new NPP in Armenia faster, relying on the experience of the existing one. Armenia and Russia have a common regulatory framework for construction and operation of plants, which will make it possible to seamlessly move from the existing plant to a new one," Vergizayev said.
Pashinyan said earlier that Armenia is holding negotiations with Russia and the United States on the construction of a new nuclear power plant in the country.
The Armenian government's program includes the issue of developing nuclear potential, he said. The existing Armenian NPP has a service life after which it can no longer be operated and the country is now actively holding negotiations with several partners on the construction of a new one, including with Russia, the U.S. and other countries, Pashinyan said.
He said reactor options are being considered in terms of economic benefits and an Armenian delegation will visit the U.S. to look at modular reactors.
The U.S. State Department's coordinator for assistance to Europe and Eurasia, Maria Longi said earlier that the U.S. is considering building small modular reactors in Armenia.
In November 2022, it was reported that Armenia had signed a memorandum with Rosatom on the construction of a new nuclear generating unit and that a preliminary feasibility study was being prepared for the project.
Armenian and Russian exporters began negotiations in the summer of 2022 on the design of a new nuclear generating unit in Armenia. Among other things, they considered a standard VVER pressurized water reactor with capacity of 1-1.3 GW.
Armenian Minister of Territorial Administration and Infrastructure Gnel Sanosyan said in October 2021 that the country planned to start building a new NPP in 2026-2027 with a view to start operating the new plant after the existing one is shut down in 2036.
The Armenian NPP, which has one generating unit with a first-generation VVER-400 reactor, is now one of the main sources of electricity in the country. Fuel for the plant is supplied by Russia's TVEL.
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