Time in Yerevan: 11:07,   19 May 2024

Armenian NPP has no safety problems, Türkiye’s goal to achieve shutdown is geoeconomic sabotage, warns expert

Armenian NPP has no safety problems, Türkiye’s goal to achieve shutdown is geoeconomic 
sabotage, warns expert

YEREVAN, OCTOBER 4, ARMENPRESS. The Metsamor Nuclear Power Plant of Armenia doesn’t have any safety problems and Türkiye’s desire to achieve its shutdown is purely a political move aimed at undermining one of the pillars of Armenia’s national security, energy security expert Vahe Davtyan told Armenpress.

Türkiye has applied to the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) with a request to shut down Metsamor.

This isn’t the first time Ankara is making such a move; it has numerously sought the closure of Metsamor ever since 1995. And in early 2000s Azerbaijan joined Türkiye in advancing the goal.

Today, Türkiye substantiates its request by claiming that the plant’s location in a seismic active zone contains risks, but in the past, it used to make false health hazard allegations. Studies showed that these allegations are untrue. “There’s not a single scientific substantiation regarding any negative effect of the Armenian Nuclear Power Plant,” Davtyan said. “This means that this is all in the political arena.”

Over the past decades, the IAEA itself has numerously sent missions to Armenia to study the plant. EU experts from Euratom have run stress-tests at Metsamor.

“In 2021, after the modernization, the IAEA gave a positive conclusion regarding the high level of safety. We must use this, and this will allow to keep the issue in a maximally apolitical dimension. I hope the IAEA will rely exclusively on the scientific, objective realities, and will not display any political motives,” Davtyan said. However, he didn’t rule out that Turkish-Azerbaijani lobbyists are working within the IAEA.

Türkiye’s argument that the Metsamor nuclear power plant is too old is also unfounded, according to Davtyan. He said that international experience has shown that similar reactors can be used even up to 80 years with relevant modernization works, and such works have been conducted at Metsamor.

“The second issue here is geoeconomics. Today, Armenia continues to be the only country in the region to develop ‘peaceful atom’, which is a very high strategic and security status. And given the deep geopolitical transformations, it is obvious that the Turkish-Azerbaijani tandem will seek to undermine by all means this pillar of Armenia’s national security,” the expert warned.

Türkiye itself is now building a nuclear power plant, and Azerbaijan began talks with foreign actors in 2019 on building one. “This means that their long-term geoeconomic goal is obvious, to rule out a scenario where Armenia would be an electrical energy exporting country and to make it have to import electrical energy from foreign markets as a result of new transformations,” he warned.

Rosatom Service has concluded that the Metsamor nuclear power plant’s operation can be extended even beyond the originally planned 2026, until 2036.

Just last year the International Atomic Energy Agency Director General Rafael Grossi said he was pleased to see the safety and security improvements made to the Metsamor Armenian Nuclear Power Plant.

Earlier in September 2023, Armenia was elected to the IAEA Board of Governors for 2023-2024.


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