Basements Can’t Serve As Shelters, Maximum as Warehouses: ANPP Impacted Aragats Community Residents

Basements Can’t Serve As Shelters, Maximum as Warehouses: ANPP Impacted Aragats Community Residents

EcoLur

EcoLur conducted a study in Aragats Community in Armavir Region 5 km away from the Armenian Nuclear Power Plant, to find out what the extent of emergency preparedness of the community is near the Armenian Nuclear Power Plant, its safety awareness and availability of social issues in the community.

In the Aragats community with a population of 2776 residents, the awareness of radiation safety is low. Posters designed to guide population are missing in the community in case of radiation danger. The population is unaware of what to do in the event of a radiation hazard, where to go. The question of the use of gas masks seemed surprising to the residents.

Despite the fact that there are no gas masks in the community, even if they were available, people don't know how to use them. School teachers said they had seen the last gas masks in their university years. 

There are also no specifically designed shelters or hideouts in Aragats. According to the residents, basements can serve as a shelter. “They are ordinary basements with sliding doors. They are meant as storage for compotes,” the residents said. The basement of a community culture building can serve more or less as a shelter, though it has some depth but also has glass windows. In addition, it will not be possible to shelter about 3,000 residents of the community.

 Aragats Municipality officials told EcoLur that there is a warning signal in the village, but it does not work. "It doesn't work, the back parts are useless," they said.

 Near the nuclear power plant with electricity fluctuations

The residents do not exclude the risk of radiation believing that remuneration in the communities affected by the ANPP should be twice as high as in other communities. At the same time, they note that so far they have not noticed any "advantage" in the neighborhood of the ANPP. Meanwhile, the older residents remember that one of the conditions for the construction of the nuclear power plant was that communities near the ANPP would receive cheaper electricity. However, these promises did not come true both during the Soviet Union and after its collapse. 

“When they built the nuclear power plant, they came in the time of the Communists, we agreed, we signed to build it. We had to get cheap electricity. But they came, they built, they did not give us any electricity, the residents said. There are frequent fluctuations of electricity in Aragats. “The electricity pay is not equivalent to what we received. The voltage is low. We have applied to ENA, we have been waiting for the answer ... for 2 years," one resident said. The majority of residents gave a negative answer to the question of extending the life of the second power unit of the ANPP. According to the residents, there are various sources of electricity available today, and the operation of a high-risk facility like the NPP can be stopped.

November 22, 2019 at 16:08