The governments of Armenia and Russia have signed an agreement on “technical and financial cooperation” in building a new energy unit at Armenia’s aging nuclear power plant set to be decommissioned in several years.
Before signing the document with Armenia’s Energy and Natural Resources Minister Armen Movsisian in Yerevan on Friday, the head of Russia’s Federal Agency on Atomic Energy (Rosatom) Sergey Kiriyenko told the media that Russia may cover up to a fifth of the cost of construction in Metsamor estimated at between $5-$7.2 billion.
Yerevan has been under pressure from the United States and the European Union to shut down the Soviet-era plant built in the 1970s, which currently provides about 40 percent of Armenia’s electricity.
Under the intergovernmental agreement signed with Russia, the construction of a new energy unit with a capacity of 1,060 Megawatts in Metsamor is scheduled to begin in 2012. However, the Armenian government has not yet indicated the sources of financing for the new facility.
Movsisian said the issue of funding will become clear after investor biddings and the project may also attract investors from the United States, Europe or Japan.
“We will perhaps receive the bids in some two or three months, after announcing the tender. There is quite a great interest,” said the Armenian minister.
An Armenian-Russian closed joint-stock company was set up late last year with the aim of building the new nuclear power plant in Armenia. Warley Parsons, an Australia-based international consortium, will manage the construction project.
The Armenian government indicated last week that the decommissioning of the Metsamor plant due in 2016-2017 may be delayed by several years.