YEREVAN. – The comprehensive and enhanced partnership agreement between Armenia and the European Union (CEPA) stipulates only the condition that Armenia should present “a road map” on the withdrawal of the operating power unit of the Armenian NPP from the operation as soon as possible, Armenian Deputy Energy Minister said.
Hayk Harutyunyan assured reporters that the agreement with the EU does not contain other secret or non-public points regarding the NPP.
“This is not a treaty that could deprive Armenia of the right to build a new nuclear power plant,” the deputy minister said.
He noted that the Armenian government intends to switch domestic electricity consumption market entirely to non-carbon technologies (nuclear and renewable energy) by 2030. This implies that gas and thermal power plants will work exclusively for the export of electricity, and the share of solar energy can reach 20-30 percent.
Meanwhile, the issue of building a new nuclear power plant in Armenia hangs in the air against the backdrop of the EU's demand for an early decommissioning of the old power unit: there are no investors.
“I cannot say anything new on this issue: the available resources will be aimed specifically at extending the operating life of the existing Armenian NPP, and only by the end of 2019 it will become clear which resources will be used and how long the operation will be extended. This assessment should be provided by the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA), not our agency,” Harutyunyan stressed.
As explained by the deputy minister, the program for the construction of a NPP as well as the question of the capacity and technologies, will be considered in 2020 - 2021 after the IAEA assesses the safety of the operating nuclear power plant following its modernization. It is assumed that when Metsamor NPP is withdrawn from service, the share of renewable energy, including hydro and solar energy, in the domestic energy market will reach 70 percent.
During the previous press conference, Harutyunyan said that the government is discussing a project for the construction of a new nuclear unit and considering the construction of small modular units with a capacity of up to 50 MW each.