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A nuclear time bomb in Caucasus

22 October 2015 13:46 (UTC+04:00)
A nuclear time bomb in Caucasus

By Laman Sadigova

Armenia's plans to build a new nuclear power plant on its territory are causing concern from its neighbors who realize the danger that the plant may pose.

The Armenian Energy and Natural Resources Ministry recently made a presentation that indicated its intention to build a new nuclear power plant in the country.

Despite the negative attitude to nuclear energy worldwide and the serious threat that it poses, Armenia is not planning to abandon this idea. Armenia’s Energy officials stated the country would have a new nuclear power plant by 2027 no matter what.

The move has caused serious protests within the country, as people cannot understand why a country that has almost no industry or large enterprises and a fleeing population is building a dangerous power energy source at home.

"The government intends to extend the operation of the existing nuclear unit in Metsamor, but will not give up its plans on the construction of the new nuclear power plant," local media reports.

Metsamor Nuclear Power Plant, which has been operating in Armenia for several decades, remains a time bomb, sparking many debates.

The plant poses a danger for the countries of the region and Armenia has been warned on numerous occasions to close it to minimize potential risk.

In 2014, the European Commission called on Armenia to close the plant as soon as possible. This was stated in a report by the European Commission on the progress of Armenia on the European Neighborhood Policy in 2013. Yet it caused no reaction in Armenia.

Armenia's neighbors are less optimistic in this regard. A strong earthquake that occurred in 2011 in the Turkish province of Van, reminded the world of the dangers of the Armenian NPP. However, the facts and constant criticism could not force Armenia to view the situation realistically.

There is even information about cases of nuclear waste disposal of Metsamor in the occupied Azerbaijani territories, which are inaccessible to international observation.

Built in 1970, Metsamor was closed down after a devastating earthquake in Spitak in 1988, but resumed operation in 1995 despite international outrage. Metsamor accumulated financial liabilities of 9-9.5 billion drams ($23.3 million), but the amount rapidly increased in the past few years as a result of the ineffective management of foreign loans and credits.

What is the reason for Yerevan’s unprecedented persistence then?

Hrant Bagratyan, the former Prime Minister of Armenia, said nuclear energy makes Armenia stronger than other countries in the region.

It is clear why small Armenia needs one more nuclear power plant – it simply wants to get "stronger.”

The country is sinking in debts and is suffering an economic crisis, its people run from the country and the forecasts are becoming worse. However, it seems as if the Armenian government does not place its priorities not in favor of the people and is ready to spend insane amounts of money on frivolous projects.

"The construction of a new nuclear power plant in Metsamor is a crime," said the chairman of Armenian Greens Union Hakob Sanasaryan.

The new “bomb” in small, militarized Armenia could become a disaster and that should cause alarm for international organizations.


Follow Laman Sadigova on Twitter: @s_laman93

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