Upon EcoLur's Initiative ANPP Impact Zone Problems and Proposed Solutions Discussed in Armavir Regional Administration

Upon EcoLur's Initiative ANPP Impact Zone Problems and Proposed Solutions Discussed in Armavir Regional Administration

On the initiative of "EcoLur", "Zone of influence of the Armenian nuclear power plant. Problems, Proposed Solutions" working meeting took place in Armavir Regional Administration on June 24, 2022. The meeting was attended by Margarita Balayan, Head of Atomic Energy Department of RA Ministry of Territorial Administration and Infrastructure, employees of Armavir Regional Municipality, ANPP CJSC, administrative heads of ANPP impact zone communities, representatives of municipal administrations and NGOs.

Inga Zarafyan, President of "EcoLur" Information NGO, said, "EcoLur has been dealing with radiation safety issues for many years. We conducted monitoring in 25 communities up to 10 km away from the ANPP, met with community leaders and residents to understand the situation in those communities. These communities have a special status, but it does not imply the status of an affected community.

They cannot make use of the benefits available to the affected community. This is a contradiction, we are trying to resolve this contradiction so that the communities have privileges, because they are affected by the operation of the nuclear power plant. There is a lack of information, a dialogue. I hope we can help change the situation."

 Margarita Balayan, Head of TAI Energy Department, outlined, "Maybe we should get together and understand what problems we have and what solutions are needed. We are ready to support as much as possible. I hope that today's meeting will have a positive result."

Victoria Burnazyan, Vice President of EcoLur Informational NGO, delivered a report on "Problems of ANPP's impact zone communities." She noted that 25 communities with a population of 95,771 located in the zone of 5-10 km from the ANPP are experiencing many problems. There are no functional radiation shelters in those communities, no evacuation guides, posters, evacuation plans are posted in accessible places, the majority of the population does not have sufficient information about protection from radiation danger," Victoria Burnazyan said.

In order to tackle these problems, EcoLur presents the following recommendations: it is necessary to give a special status to the communities in the ANPP impact zone, provide funding to provide the population with nuclear protection, bring the shelters in the communities in line with the requirements of radiation shelters, raise public awareness of radiation protection, to ensure the participation of communities in the discussions and decision-making process on the ANPP, to increase the level of corporate and social responsibility of the ANPP towards the affected communities.

Artak Karapetyan, Head of Population Protection Department of Regional Rescue Department of Armavir Regional Municipality, responded. "There is no such term as 'basement-shelter'. Nuclear safety posters should not be placed in residential areas where there is no radiation accident. Appropriate correction plans are posted only before the evacuation of the population in case of an accident. There are anti-radiation hiding places in the radiation impact zone of the ANPP, which are inspected twice a year by Armavir Regional Rescue Department. All the residents of the impact zone are attached to the defense structures."

"EcoLur" Expert Rosa Julhakyan raised the issue of anti-radiation hiding places, noting, "In 2020, the Armenian government made a decision on the need to build hiding places. However, those hiding places were not built, it is a necessity for our country. People should be aware of evacuation plans in advance, not in the event of an accident. Environmental fees should be directed to address safety issues in affected communities."

The participants of the meeting agreed that there is a lack of information. People are not aware of what priority steps should be taken in the event of a radiation hazard.

Inga Zarafyan said that the proposals of the interested parties should be collected and submitted to the government in the form of relevant legislative amendments. The representative of Armavir regional administration mentioned that they are ready for cooperation.

"Our task is to be ready for danger, not to wait for the danger to come, to think about what to do. Our goal is to work with you to solve existing problems in small steps. We want healthy, constructive work and constructive dialogue so that the residents of the communities are safer and more secure,” Victoria Burnazyan said.

June 29, 2022 at 11:36