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YEREVAN, November 13. /TASS/. Armenia’s parliament on Friday ratified an intergovernmental agreement with Russia on cooperation in the sphere of nuclear security.
The document enrolled support from 103 lawmakers, with two abstaining.
The document was signed on December 2, 2013 during Russian President Vladimir Putin’s visit to Armenia.
Under the agreement, the Russian side in the person of the state-run nuclear corporation Rosatom "will help Armenia improve the nuclear security infrastructure in line with the recommendations from the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA), including in handling spent nuclear fuel and nuclear waste," Armenian Deputy Minister of Energy and Natural Resources Areg Galstyan said, adding that the agreement also provided for measures "to ensure stable and high level of nuclear security at Armenia’s nuclear facilities and their proper maintenance." Apart from that, the agreement outlines steps to boost professional skills of nuclear safety specialists and set up a crisis management center, he noted.
Commissioned in 1979, the Armenian nuclear power plant was halted in 1989 after a devastating earthquake. It was de-mothballed with the help of Russian specialists to resume industrial operation of its second unit. The station accounts for about 40% of Armenia’s electricity output.
In the meantime, the European Union wants Armenia to shut down this nuclear plant. The country’s authorities say its closure is possible if there are alternative electricity sources. Yerevan is taking active, but so far fruitless, efforts to find sources of financing for a new power unit at the nuclear plant. The decision to build such unit has already been taken. On March 27, 2014, the Armenian government endorsed a program to extend the nuclear plant’s service life. For these ends, two intergovernmental agreements were signed with Russia. Under one of them, Russia has extended an export loan to Armenia worth 270 million U.S. dollars and a 30-million U.S. dollar grant to extend the nuclear plant’s service life.