Europe's position: Metsamor nuclear plant in Armenia should be closed - COMMENT - VIDEO

Europe's position: Metsamor nuclear plant in Armenia should be closed - COMMENT - VIDEO
'This plant is old designed, few years left of its life'

Baku. 1 December. REPORT.AZ/ Armenia does not just pose a threat to the security in the South Caucasus, but also pollutes the environment of the region with radioactive emissions.

Metsamor Nuclear Power Plant and Kajaran Copper-Molybdenum Plant located in Armenia are the sources of threat for ecology. It is not only stated by Azerbaijan, Europe is also concerned with the current situation.

Report informs Francis Malige, Managing Director for Eastern Europe and the Caucasus at The European Bank for Reconstruction and Development (EBRD) touched this issue answering the questions of Armenian reporters, who came to Brussels to cover the Eastern Partnership summit last week.

To the question of the journalist “Is the 80-million-dollar loan to be invested by EBRD in energy sector of Armenia protected by sovereign guarantee? Is this loan taken by state or private company and who will pay in case of problems?” Francis Malige answered as following:

“If I am not mistaken, this is a loan to Electric Networks of Armenia (ENA) without sovereign guarantee. We take the risk of the company. I have been in touch with them, I have met them. There is a need for modernization of electricity network in Armenia, there is also frankly need for much more investment in the energy production in renewables and other sources of energy. I think you are aware that a lot of electricity produced in Armenia comes from the nuclear power plant which is an old designed, which probably few years left on life in it, but at some point should be closed. And I think Armenia should prepare itself for future energy sector where Metsamor plant does not operate anymore.”

Francis Malige, Managing Director for Eastern Europe and the Caucasus at The European Bank for Reconstruction and Development (EBRD)

To the question of the journalist “Will EBRD provide financing if Armenia decided to build another nuclear power plant.” Fransis Malige responded decisively: No. In no way. That is an exclusion in our mandate, that is forbidden by our charter to finance nuclear energy. Only exception is nuclear safety. For instance, if you have existing plant which you want to make safer. It is actually ok for EBRD to invest in that. We have such a project for example in Ukraine. But, we would never finance construction of new nuclear capacity.

Of course, this is also an attitude of Europe towards Metsamor Nuclear Power Plant (NPP).

The construction of this nuclear plant started in 1960. In 1977 it was set in motion. Following Spitak earthquake in 1988, the NPP was shut down. International organisations did not hold any inspection at the plant. In the beginning of 2016 there were reports that NPP will be closed for 3-4 months to undergo major restorations with 270-million-dollar loan borrowed from Russia and 30 million dollars as a grant. Due to the delayed construction of new nuclear energy unit, Armenian government made a decision on March 2014 to operate this plant until 2026.

Despite that Azerbaijan, Turkey and Iran appealed to the International Atomic Energy Agency, Armenia continues to operate the NPP.

The second plant posing a threat for the environment in the region is Kajaran Copper-Molybdenum Plant (Zangazur Copper-Molybdenum Plant) was launched in 1850. Although it was closed several times, it is continuously operating since 1951.

On November 29, 2017, lawmakers of Iranian parliament expressed their concern about the pollution of Aras river on the Armenian side, they requested the government to take necessary measures to stop the pollution.

Lawmaker Shahhur Purhuseyn said Armenia does nothing to protect the environment and pollutes the water of Aras river.

He said Armenia caused the increase of cancer disease among population in Mugan district of Ardabil province of Iran. Lawmaker draw to the attention that Armenia causes great damage to Iran by flowing the radioactive wastes into the river.

Iran has fertile lands all the way on Aras river. Farming is broadly developed in this region. For irrigation local farmers use water from Aras river. The pollution of the river in the Armenian territory not only decreases the productivity, but also causes oncological disease among population.

The regional states regularly raise the issue of pollution of Aras river by Armenia. Both issues were repeatedly reported to the international organization, no measure has been taken so far.

In a world, an air space of states is open. Any emission to atmosphere, particularly radioactive wastes can be dangerous for humanity. In this regard, there are two sources of danger in the territory of Armenia. 

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