Armenian NPP: Questions Left, Still No Answers

Armenian NPP: Questions Left, Still No Answers


The Armenian Nuclear Power Plant together with large hydro cascades (Vorotan) remains the basis for the entire energetic system in Armenia, as specialists in energy claim – organizers and participants of the panel discussion entitled 'Perspectives of Development of Nuclear Sector in Armenia.' The discussion was held in Yerevan on 20 March with the support and participation of Rosatom State Corporation (Russian Federation) and 'Armatom' CJSC research institute (Armenia).

The main topics of the discussion are the option of the lifetime extensions of the currently operating power unit of the Armenian NPP after 2026, the construction of a new power unit of the ANPP, utilization of the spent nuclear power and burial of radioactive wastes.

The ground for the lifetime extension is the modernization of the ANPP, which is carried out at the expense of the Russian loan of 270 million USD and a loan of 30 million USD. As the Advised to Director of ANPP Gera Sevikyan informed the modernization promotes the increase in the ANPP capacity from 390 MW to 420 MW and over, as well as an increase in the reliability of the station.

The prolongation of the ANPP lifetime is directly connected with the construction of the new power unit of the ANPP. 'The operating power unit of the Armenian NPP will be decommissioned after the launch of the new nuclear power unit,' Director of Energy and Electric Engineering of National Polytechnic University of Armenia Aram Gevorgyan claims. The forecast made for the development and use of electricity in Armenia by 2020 will look as follows:

-  Production ~ 14 billion kWh

-  Internal consumption ~ 6.5 billion kWh

-  Seasonal exchange of electricity 'North-South'

-  Program on electricity exchange with Iran  (electricity for gas) ~ 6,9 billion kWh

-  Transit of electricity 'North-South'

-  Sale of electricity 'North-West'

In this scheme, the share of the ANPP makes up 30%.

The matters related to funding of the construction of the new power unit of the ANPP are still not solved.

The utilization of the spent nuclear fuel and radioactive wastes still remains a problem. As it is known the object in the area of the ANPP only temporarily store the spent nuclear fuel and radioactive wastes. The capacity of these objects is limited. Horizontal modules of the second building of the second shift of the dry cask storage of the spent nuclear fuel will be entirely full in 2026. Consequently, the third shift needs constructing in 2025 and putting into operation in 2026. At the same time, taking into consideration the planned estimated amount of spent nuclear cassettes annually withdrawn from the active zone, the third shift will be entirely full already in 2035.

Russia is willing to undertake to process of the spent nuclear fuel in its territory, but the matter of delivery and transportation is still open. In the past, transportation was carried out via railroad in specially equipped carriages. Anyway, after the blockade of railway roads in Armenia, the transportation of the spent nuclear fuel in Armenia stopped. As the participants of the panel session think, this question can be solved via the negotiations with Georiga, transporting the spent nuclear fuel via railroads from Armenia to Georgian harbor Poti and then to Russia by sea.

Negotiations with Iran are considered as an alternative, which operates a nuclear power plant in Busher. Russia is planning to receive the spent nuclear fuel from Busher within the frames of new intergovernmental agreements and commercial contracts.

14:43 March 22, 2019


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