EU finance for Metsamor closure

1 March 2002

The European Union plans to give Armenia r100 to build alternative power-generating facilities to replace the Armenian nuclear power plant, according to head of the EU office in Armenia and Georgia, Torben Holtze. He said these resources may be spent on building hydro-power plants, laying gas pipelines and enhancing the efficiency of electricity distribution systems. The Energy Ministry is currently drafting proposals on implementing these projects, he added.

The Armenian government said it would shut the plant in 2004, but no schedule has been finalised. The plant currently generates 40% of the country's energy. Energy minister Armen Movsisyan said he sees no alternative to nuclear power as the country lacks sufficient water resources and its remaining power plants are mainly powered by imported gas.

• Meanwhile, Azerbaijan said the plant is polluting its waterways. Asya Manafova, chair of the parliamentary commission for natural resources, ecology and energy said: "Contamination of the Aras River from the discharge of radioactive waste from the Metsamor nuclear power station has reached such levels that the water can no longer be used for drinking or irrigation."

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