Safety Remains Key to Long Term Operation of Armenia’s Nuclear Power Plant

The IAEA will continue its cooperation with Armenia to ensure the highest safety standards at the Armenian Nuclear Power Plant (ANPP), IAEA Director General Yukiya Amano said in Yerevan, Armenia yesterday.

During meetings with President Armen Sarkissian and Prime Minister Nikol Pashinyan, both sides recognized the importance of safety in the operation of the plant. “We are committed to comply with all safety standards,” Mr Pashinyan said.

In his discussion with President Sarkissian, Mr Amano noted Armenia’s  participation in IAEA activities, including the close collaboration on projects to meet the energy needs of the country and the assistance provided to expand Armenia’s capacity to train skilled personnel in nuclear technology. They also discussed the IAEA’s support to the country in cancer control and nuclear medicine.

President Sarkissian commended the IAEA’s support and noted that nuclear power is a key element in solving the country’s electricity shortage while at the same time combatting climate change. “To achieve this goal, for our country , the partnership with the IAEA is a must,” he said.

In his discussion with Ashot Martirosyan, Chairman of the Armenian Nuclear Regulatory Authority, Mr Amano was briefed on the on-going efforts to increase safety and security at the ANPP located near the town of Metsamor, 36 kilometres west of the Yerevan. They also discussed recent expert and review missions to the country, including the IAEA Safety Aspects of Long-Term Operation (SALTO) review mission that took place from 27 November – 6 December 2018. Mr Amano was informed that Armenia fully agrees with the suggestions and recommendations of this review and the Government is committed to continue increasing safety and physical protection measures at the ANPP. The ANPP provides around 40% of the country’s electricity.   

Mr Amano was also briefed on the updating of Armenia’s Nuclear Law, the goal of which is to harmonize the country’s nuclear legislation with IAEA safety standards and European Union safety directives. The IAEA stands ready to provide assistance in this work in relation to the IAEA safety standards, Mr Amano said.

Mr Amano visited the ANPP, where Hakob Vardanyan, Acting Minister of Energy, Infrastructure and Natural Resources, briefed him on the modernization process and the various activities to upgrade the safety of the ANPP for long-term operation within the framework of the country’s regulatory liscensing process.

Mr Amano visited Armenia on 29-30 April 2019.