Russia agrees to defer loan payments for repairs of Armenian atomic power station
Russia has agreed to a deferral of loans given to Armenia in order to restore the Metsamor atomic power plant.
How much time will Armenia receive?
Moscow and Yerevan have agreed that the loans are to be repaid by 2021. Acting Minister of Energy Infrastructures and Natural Resources of Armenia, Garegin Baghramyan, explained the situation:
“Our finance ministry turned to the Russian side to extend the maturity of the loan and pay off its debt obligations by 2021, since we will only feel the effect of the repair starting in 2020. The additional effect obtained as a result of the modernization of the Armenian nuclear power plant will be used to repay the loan, which, in turn, will mitigate the impact of the repayment of the Russian loan.”
The Armenian nuclear reactor was shut down for repairs in June of this year to upgrade the third turbine unit. After the final repair, the station’s capacity will increase by 10% in 2019.
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• Metsamor – the looming question of Armenia’s nuclear power plant
How much credit did Armenia receive?
Armenia took out a loan for repairs to extend the life of the nuclear power plant until 2026. The total loan amount is 270 million dollars. Another 30 million was allocated in the form of a grant. The main contractor is the Russian company Rusatom Service, which is part of the Russian state corporation Rusatom.
Russia stated that it understands Armenia’s request – the general director of Rusatom Service, Evgeny Salkov, said that next year there would be twice as much work:
“When the repairs were planned, we proceeded from a specific volume (equipment and services), but in the process of implementation, additional needs emerged. Next year we have to complete the work in the engine room, complete the modernisation of the fourth turbine unit, and a large range of work is planned in the reactor core.”
How long will the atomic power station run?
Yerevan has developed a programme according to which the operating life of the existing unit of the station is to be extended until 2026. The Armenian authorities also intend to gradually introduce new units into operation. The Armenian nuclear power plant is the only one in the region.
The history of the Armenian atomic power plant
The first unit of the atomic power station was put into operation in 1976, and the second in 1980. According to the power station, the lifetime of the units are 30 years. In 1988, after the devastating Spitak earthquake in Armenia, a security issue arose. In 1989, the USSR Council of Ministers decided to stop the operation of both nuclear units. Environmentalists demanded the same. However, in November 1995, the second power unit was restarted to cope with the energy crisis.