The European Commission has signed a financing agreement with the Armenian government to strengthen nuclear and radiation safety at the Metsamore nuclear plant, which is one of the few remaining nuclear power reactors that were built without primary containment structures.

Metsamore nuclear power plant in Armenia
The plant is located some 30 kilometres west of Yerevan. It was built in the 1970s but was closed following a devastating earthquake in 1988. One of its two VVER 440-V230 light-water reactors was reactivated in 1995.

According to experts, the plant can operate until 2016. However, the EU has urged Armenia to shut down the plant. The Armenians have proven reluctant to that position due to the threat to the country’s energy security.

Last year the government decided to extend the service life of the Armenian nuclear power plant up to 2026 and last month the Russian government announced that it would be willing to subsidize up to 35 per cent of the cost of building a new power plant, which it is estimated would cost as much as $5bn, according to the Asbaraz news website.

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