Armenia's New Nuclear Power Plant to Cost US$3-5 Billion
Any new nuclear power plant in Armenia will cost between US$3-$5 billion according to estimates by sector experts.
Representatives of Rosatom (a Russian state corporation headquartered in Moscow that specializes in nuclear energy, nuclear non-energy goods and high-tech products), were in Yerevan today for a meeting with local and international sector specialists and management of Armenia’s Metzamor nuclear power plant that is scheduled to be decommissioned in 2036.
Turbine Technology AAEM LLC General Director Ilya Vergizaev proposed a new plant with a capacity of 1,000-1,200 megawatts to replace Metzamor’s Unit Two that produces 400 megawatts.
Turbine Technology AAEM Limited Liability Company ("AAEM" LLC) is a joint venture between Atomenergomash JSC (51%) and General Electric (49%) established in 2007 with a mission to supply turbine hall equipment for national and foreign nuclear power plant projects using the Russian reactor technology.
Not all experts believe that Armenia needs such a high-power nuclear block.
Vahram Petrosyan, board chairman of the state-owned Armenian Nuclear Power Plant (ANPP) CJSC that operates Metzamor, believes the country would do better with two smaller plants each with a capacity of 500-600 megawatts,
Petrosyan says Armenia’s electricity demand doesn’t exceed 1,200 megawatts and that hydro, solar and thermal plants can easily make up the difference.
“A high-capacity nuclear power plant can become a headache for the country. We must consider all options and send the right order to the government," Petrosayn told Hetq.
The new nuclear power unit will most likely be built on the site of the existing nuclear power plant.
According to Armenia’s Statistical Committee (SC) data, a total of 8.9 billion kWh (billion kilowatt hours) of electricity was produced in Armenia in 2022. The largest percentage was provided by thermal power plants - 43.5%, Metzamor - 32%, hydroelectric power plants (HPP) - 21.8%.
Metzamor consists of two Russian-built 376 MWe VVER reactors that started operating in 1976 and 1980. Both units were taken offline in 1988 due to seismic safety concerns. Unit 2 was restarted in 1995.
Rosatom Director General Alexei Likhachev and Armenian PM Nikol Pashinyan discussed the building of a new plant at a meeting in Yerevan earlier this spring.
Rosatom signed an agreement with the management of the Armenian nuclear power plant in January last year to study the possible building of new Russia-designed units on the site of the current plant at Metzamor.