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PostPosted: Sat Jun 06, 2020 11:32 pm
 


Recently, expert and the Armenian society as a whole have been discussing how expedient it is to extend the life of the Armenian (Metsamor) NPP. In this regard, it is necessary to analyze the facts, carefully weighing the pros and cons of this political decision.
To begin with, a well-known fact: Metsamor NPP provides up to 40 % of the electricity generated in Armenia. Its closure, even if not looking for options to fill this niche. A reasonable question arises about alternatives to nuclear energy in the event of closure of nuclear power plants. Renewable energy sources (solar panels, windmills, biomass energy, etc.) are quite popular in the world. However, they are not without their problems: the construction at one time will force us to install wind turbines only away from cities, taking into account wind direction, the environmental friendliness of solar cell production remains a big issue. There are other nuances. This opinion is also confirmed by UN expert on energy, Ara Marjanian,: the use of green energy, according to him, does not provide guaranteed power (http://www.atomic-energy.ru/news/2020/03/06/101998). Too many plants are needed to produce that much energy. Alternative energy sources also make us dependent on weather conditions. If such are unfavourable, it remains only to rely on standby generators.
Despite the solid lifetime of nuclear power plants, the extensive experience and advance technologies of «Rosatom» make it possible to count on ensuring the nuclear safety of the power plant. Back in the Soviet period, even during the tragic events in Spitak, the actions’ coherence of the station’s management and employees allowed to run away from the repetition of the Chernobyl scenario. The safety of the Metsamor NPP at the present stage has already been confirmed by independent foreign experts, particularly by the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) inspectors. IAEA experts do not doubt the competence of Russian nuclear scientists and safety characteristics of the second nuclear power unit: the international organization itself controls the modernization process. Just a year ago, Yukiya Amano, the head of the IAEA, personally inspected the facility, making sure that work is carried out according to plan (http://www.iaea.org/newscenter/news/saf ... ower-plant). The World Association of NPP Operating Organizations, or WANO, holds the same position. Despite the invectives of individual publications, Western experts agree that the Armenian NPP is no more dangerous than any other NPP of the world, as the expert in nuclear energy from Massachusetts Robert Calantari expressed this idea (http://www.nationalgeographic.com/news/ ... t-armenia/). According to IAEA employees, following the technical work, energy efficiency and safety standards will increase. This is not to mention jobs, the source of which is not only the station itself, but the whole city, built specifically for its maintenance.
There is another option: keep the atom in the energy balance, but at the same time change investors and technology suppliers. The question is: for what? Indeed, Russian nuclear reactors and technology today are recognized, including by Western experts in the field of nuclear energy, as one of the most advanced in the world, and the technology planned for implementation at the Metsamor Hydroelectric Power Station use the most advanced protection systems that can ensure plant safety even in the most extreme conditions, nor do it harm the environment. It should also take into account that in the case of contacting Western countries, you should immediately pay attention to the issue price and the proposed conditions (in contrast to the grant provided by the Russian Federation, preferential installment terms and a loyal attitude in terms of writing off debts). Western companies (French «Orano», American «Westinghouse») strive to enter the Armenian market in rather aggressive way. Not the most favorable loan for the construction of nuclear power plants threatens to hit the country’s economy, while there are no guarantees of the West’s conscientious fulfillment of its promises (recalling examples from Ukraine or the Eastern Partnership countries). A similar situation has already hit Lithuania, if we recall the scenario implemented by the EU with the Ignalina NPP actually forcibly closed down. The transition period will affect ordinary citizens: after the conclusion of the Metsamor NPP, even if the promise is fulfilled, the electricity price will increase sharply. Such a situation works to the benefit of Azerbaijan and Turkey, which have long been unflattering on the NPP issue in Metsamor (an example of one of the market articles: https://www.ankasam.org/en/armenias-nuc ... sequences/). Undermining the energy independence of Armenia, which is ensured by the operation of nuclear power plants, would be beneficial to these countries.
Thus, to date there are no real alternatives to the Armenian NPP from the energy point of view. Other options are too expensive or will hit the country’s national security.


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