Atomic energy development remains a strategic direction for Armenia – President

President Serzh Sargsyan met today with newly appointed Chairman of the Nuclear Energy Safety Council under the President of Armenia (NESC), Senior Advisor to the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) and the International Association of Nuclear Operators Miroslav Lipar, who arrived in Armenia to attend the 15th session of NESC.

Congratulating Miroslav Lipar on assuming the office of NESC Chairman, Serzh Sargsyan wished him every success and fruitful work and expressed the hope that Mr. Lipar would contribute to Council’s effective activities.

The President of the Republic of Armenia and the Chairman of the Nuclear Energy Safety Council touched upon the scheduled work on increasing the NPP safety level, the measures envisaged by the life extension program for Unit-2 of the ANPP and ANPP staff training process.

Miroslav Lipar assured President Serzh Sargsyan that the NESC is composed of highly qualified specialists and can continue to provide considerable assistance to the Armenian Nuclear Power Plant. He advised that members of the Council visited the station yesterday and were happy to note that after each visit new improvements and progress may be observed in the ANPP. The Council Chairman underscored that though a lot of work has been done, there is still much to do in this field and the Council will continue to focus on the safe operation of the Armenian NPP.

After the meeting, President Sargsyan participated in the Nuclear Energy Safety Council session, held at the Government’s Reception House.

The President of Armenia welcomed the members of the Council and other participants in attendance of the session. Noting that over 20 years had elapsed since the first NESC meeting, the President thanked Council Chairman Mr. Adolf Birkhoffer for his 20-year-long service as Council Chairman, as well as the former and current members of the Council for professional assistance in the implementation of the NPP safety enhancement programs.

Noting that Adolf Birkhofer will no longer be able to continue his tenure for good reasons, but will serve as a Council member, the President wished him robust health and wellbeing.

Emphasizing that the Council members highly appreciated Mr. Birkhofer’s achievements in the implementation of the national program for ANPP safety upgrade, President Serzh Sargsyan awarded the Medal of Honor to the long-term Council Chairman for his contribution to the safe operations of the Armenian Nuclear Power Plant.

Then the President introduced newly appointed chairman of the Council Miroslav Lipar, who has held responsible positions in many nuclear power managing agencies since 2001.

President Sargsyan also introduced a new member from Germany, Peter Kelm, who has been working for a long time in nuclear energy, and is well aware of the ANPP and Armenia’s energy infrastructure. Serzh Sargsyan wished every success and fruitful work to the new members of the Council.

In his speech, the President noted that the maintenance and development of the atomic energy continues to be a strategic direction for Armenia according to the National Long-Term Energy Development Program until 2036, as adopted by the RA Government in December 2015. The President stressed that the presence of the NPP in the structure of base-load power generation will enable us to maintain a proper level of energy security in this country.

“The program suggests life extension of the functioning unit until 2027 and, further on, stage-by-stage commission of new nuclear units.

To implement the life extension program for Unit-2 of the ANPP, the Republic of Armenia and the Russian Federation signed agreements on the extension of export credit and grant to the RA Government to finance this program.

Within the framework of ANPP Unit-2 life extension program, measures have been taken to upgrade its design safety and operational safety, and to upgrade the Unit. During the 2017 scheduled outage, the first stage of life extension, including, instrumental examination of Unit equipment has been practically completed,” President Serzh Sargsyan said.

In his speech, the President also noted that in the frame of the EU technical support program, a document has been developed, entitled Radioactive Waste and Spent Fuel Management Strategy. As a result, the “Radioactive waste and spent fuel management concept” has been reviewed. The amended concept was approved by RA President’s Decree in January 2017. A strategy for safe handling of radioactive waste and spent fuel has already been developed and approved on October 5 by RA Government.

As the President advised, within the framework of the Joint Convention on the Safety of Spent Fuel Management and on the Safety of Radioactive Waste Management, the Second National report is in its final stage. It is planned to submit the Second National report to the IAEA by the end of this year.

The President further informed that in line with RA Government’s Instruction on the implementation of the Radioactive Waste and Spent Fuel Management Strategy, it is planned to establish a national operator for Radioactive Waste and Spent Fuel Management based on Detoxication of Radioactive Waste CJSC.

President Sargsyan noted that the final version of the expert assessment report on the ANPP stress test was submitted in September 2016, and the activities developed as a result of the stress test have been included in the program of activities for Unit-2 life extension

The President assured that the Republic of Armenia continues to implement the IAEA mission’s advice and recommendations on regulatory issues. Speaking about the implementation of the programs aimed at ensuring safe operation of the ANPP, Serzh Sargsyan stressed the need for full-scale modernization of the simulator, which was also highlighted at the previous session.

“The work on the first stage of the project was completed in January this year. Currently, documentation is prepared to announce a tender for the second stage: expansion of the simulator to full-scale. I instruct the ministry of energy infrastructure and natural resources, and the ANPP administration to do their best to finalize this work.

We attach high priority to the personnel policy in the nuclear sector. There is a vital need to refresh the cadre, to attract young people while maintaining continuity. That is why training of specialists is an issue of paramount importance. Its solution will promote the preservation of the existing infrastructure in this country,” the President of Armenia said.

In his speech, Serzh Sargsyan attached great importance to the coordinated work of the Armenian Nuclear Regulatory Authority and the Armenian Nuclear Power Plant.

As part of the meeting agenda, Director General of ANPP CJSC Movses Vardanyan reported on the activities of the Armenian Nuclear Power Plant, after which Chairman of State Nuclear Safety Regulatory Committee Ashot Martirosyan presented a report on Committee’s activities in 2015-2017. A discussion was held on the reports presented.

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