The Government of the Armenia has extended the exploitation period for the second block of the nuclear power plant for 10 years, and now, instead of 2016, the block will work till 2026. This has caused a protest among environmental activists. The latter demand a shutdown of the plant, taking into consideration the risk of possible explosion, which would be fatal to the region.
On the 5th of February 2015, an agreement between the governments of Russia and Armenia was signed in Moscow, which endows Armenia a state export loan for financing the exploitation of Metsamor nuclear power plant in the territory of Armenia.
According to documents, Russia should transfer till 300 million dollars as an export credit to Armenia, to extend the exploitation of Metsamor nuclear power plant.
Against the international organizations and state authorities, an environmentalist speaks out;
“It’s not a coincidence that they are setting time frames, the closer it comes to shutdown time, the higher the risk of explosion”. “It’ll be better if the IAEA didn’t speak, since their main purpose is the construction of new NPP’s and the extension of their use”, says Hakob Sanasaryan, the head of Greens Union of Armenia. According to him, the modernization of the reactors is a necessity, since while aging, they are becoming more dangerous, and also the technological equipment is losing its reliability.
The decision of our government indicates, that either they are unaware of nuclear issues, or are indifferent – says the environmentalists - if they were professionals, they wouldn’t allow such a thing to happen.
“It shows that today anyone could become a minister; it’s an extremely dangerous step, even a crime”.
According to Sanasaryan, the power plant exploitation process emits different radioactive substances, which are harmful both for the flora and fauna.
“There is research, that the people living around the power plant have higher rates of cancer”
The plant workers pass medical tests every year.
“The cancer is not a hazard for the workers”, says the doctor.
The workers pass full medical examinations every year, and no conditions have been detected among the majority of the workers, assures the head of “Metsamor medical center” MD-PhD, Dr. Michael Vanyan.
According to him, the medical examination is carried out at a higher level, and no serious medical conditions could be missed by the doctors.
“During the last examination, 1350 workers took part, and only 7 of them had health issues. We all are humans, who don’t get sick?. The opinion that the power plant harms the health of the people, and causes oncological problems, is not fact-based” Says the CEO.
The Metsamor Power Plant was constructed during the USSR, in 1969. Throughout its operation only once a fire started with the heating of the reactor, and the workers fought it.
In 1988 it was closed down, causing an energy crisis in Armenia. Those years were known in Armenia as “the years of cold and dark”. It was reopened in 1995, and only one of the two blocks is in use, providing around the 40% of electricity of Armenia.