Huffington Post: High stakes in Armenia’s nuclear gamble

The stakes in Armenia’s nuclear gamble on aging Metsamor nuclear plant are high for the whole region, says an article published by The Huffington Post.

“Armenia was supposed to have a new nuclear power plant this year that would replace one that National Geographic suggested a few years ago was the most dangerous in the world,” the article said. “We’re well in to 2016, and not only is the new plant not operational – work on it hasn’t even begun.”

According to the article, the problem is the $5-billion cost, a staggering amount for Armenia, one of the poorest countries in the former Soviet Union.

The Metsamor plant is located in an active seismic zone – and many Armenian nuclear officials feared a catastrophe if the next temblor involved a direct hit on Metsamor, the article said.

According to the article, desperate for electricity, Armenia reopened the Metsamor plant – the first time in history that a shuttered nuclear facility had been restarted.

“But the global financial meltdown that struck in 2008 made it difficult to obtain financing from countries besides Russia, many of whose economies were in the doldrums for years after the crisis,” the author wrote.

According to the article, so Armenia continues to make due with the Metsamor plant.

The International Atomic Energy Agency has inspected the facility, and declared it safe. But other experts are skeptical, the article said.

“The big worry is that the plant has no containment building – a steel or concrete shell that would prevent radiation from escaping during an accident,” the author wrote.

The author wrote that an accident at Metsamor would devastate the capital of Yerevan, only 20 miles away and home to a third of Armenia’s population.

“In addition, radiation would envelop Turkey, whose border is only 10 miles from the nuclear facility, and Armenian neighbors Georgia and Iran,” the author wrote.

Source: Trend