Energy and Natural Resources Minister Armen Movsisian downplayed on Friday an ongoing international inspection at Armenia’s Metsamor nuclear power station, insisting that its operational safety remains “satisfactory.”
A team of experts from the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) began the two-week inspection on Monday amid renewed concerns about the plant fueled by the recent nuclear disaster in Japan. The Armenian government solicited the IAEA mission two months ago, citing the need to learn lessons from the disaster.
“There is no cause for concern,” Movsisian told journalists. “The nuclear plant operates in a normal day-to-day rhythm.”
“Such inspections are carried out regularly. This is not something new that suggests they are very worried or I don’t know what,” he said.
Movsisian added that international nuclear experts visit and examine the plant, which generates about 40 percent of Armenia’s electricity, “two or three times a year.” “Again, the technical condition is satisfactory and I don’t think there will be any problems,” he said.
The grave accidents at Japan’s Fukushima Daiichi nuclear plant rekindled the concerns of Armenian environment protection groups that have long been seeking the closure of the Soviet-built facility. They argue that just like Japan, Armenia is situated in a seismically active region prone to powerful earthquakes.
Government officials and nuclear energy experts in Yerevan dismiss such concerns.