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Armenia's unrealizable nuclear dreams

16 July 2014 [12:40] - TODAY.AZ
By AzerNews

Armenia's paralyzed economy is living on loans taken from other countries and international financial organizations.

And now, the government's wrong use of the loans has left huge debts for its outdated Metsamor Nuclear Power Plant.

Metsamor accumulated financial liabilities at 9-9.5 billion drams ($23,3 million) but the amount rapidly increased in the past few years as a result of ineffective management of foreign loans and credits, Energy Minister Ervand Zakaryan told reporters.

Metsamor is a real nuclear threat for the region. Built in 1970, it was closed down after a devastating earthquake in Spitak in 1988, but resumed its operation in 1995 despite international outrage.

The international community and regional countries - Azerbaijan, Turkey, and Georgia have repeatedly urged Armenia to close the dangerous power plant immediately.

Despite its huge debts, the government intends to extend the life of Metsamor till 2026. This needs $300 million which Armenia expects to receive from Russia. Armenia has agreed with Russian to receive a $300 million loan.

Prime Minister Ovik Abramyan recently held a meeting with his Russian counterpart Dimitry Medvedev. During the talks, the sides discussed issues related to the modernization of Metsamor and extension of its life. There was no progress in talks over Russia's loan.

Furthermore, the Armenian government plans to build a new nuclear power block in 2018-2019, which will cost $4.5 billion. Zakaryan said Russia will provide some parts of the cost in the form of goods and equipment. The rest of cost is expected to be provided by other countries.

Armenia has turned into an unpopular destination for Russian government and investors as Moscow is facing economic difficulties following its interference in Ukraine's crisis.

Armenia's nuclear dreams seem unrealizable in the nearest future, as Russia is not in a hurry to allocate loans for them. On the other hand, Armenian government is unable to realize its dreams without foreign assistance.

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