(AP) - The only operational reactor of the nuclear power station in Metsamor was halted Tuesday for the next 45 days for scheduled maintenance and reloading of nuclear fuel, plant officials said.
Energy Minister Karen Galustian said Armenia planned to pay Russia $ 4 million as an advance against fuel deliveries in July, with the rest of the $13 million bill to be paid within three months. Galustian has promised that Armenia will repay its $16
million debt to Russia for fuel supplied earlier by June 2002.
The Metsamor plant, located 32 kilometers (20 miles) west of Yerevan and 11 kilometers (7 miles) from the Turkish border, was shut down in 1989 following safety concerns in the aftermath of the devastating 1988 earthquake. Its reactor No. 2
resumed operation in 1995.
Armenia has been under pressure to close down the plant because of worries over the safety of the Soviet-made reactor. Experts have estimated the required safety upgrades at about dlrs 1 billion over the next 15 years.