ArmInfo.The radioactive cargo fixed at Gomel airport in transit from Armenia to Bulgaria was being transported in line with all international documents and rules, Armenian Ministry of Energy Infrastructures and Natural Resources has told ArmInfo's correspondent.
To recall, earlier on March 20 BelTa quoted Oleg Lyashuk, Head of the Border Control Office of the State Border Committee of Belarus, as saying "The aircraft in transit from Armenia to Bulgaria arrived in Gomel at 12:30 on 19 March. A box inside the aircraft had markings of a source of ionizing radiation. Hazmat personnel sent by the border service and the Gomel Oblast Department of the Emergencies Ministry were called for. After examination the cargo was allowed to cross the Belarusian state border."
However, the Ministry of Energy Infrastructures and Natural Resources told ArmInfo that on 3 Oct 2016 the Croatian "Frid" company, which was chosen as a contractor by Rusatom Service JSC - the general contractor of the Armenian NPP Unit-2 Lifetime Extension Project supplied check-out equipment to Armenia. The equipment was delivered by JSC Aircompany Grodno (Belarus), which was obliged to deliver the equipment back in the same track.
On 15 March 2017, the Belarusian air carrier filed an application for implementing the Yerevan-Gomel flights. The accompanying papers contained information about the cargo and the aviation authorities of Belarus were informed about the content of the cargo. After that the permit for the flight was issued. The Ministry stresses that the cargo transportation was carried out in accordance with the contract with the freight company on the basis of agreements, in line with all international regulatory rules.
To note, Armenia and Belarus have an interstate agreement on cooperation in nuclear power engineering. The agreement also provides for exchange of information.
Rusatom Service is the general contractor of the Armenian NPP Unit-2 Lifetime Extension Project. In March 2014, the Armenian Government took a decision on extension of the NPP Unit 2 lifetime due to the delay in construction of a new power unit. Rosatom and Armenian experts agreed to work on the project for 10 years - till 2026. The operations are expected to last for 5 years and end in 2019. Russia lent 270mln USD and granted 30mln USD to Armenia for these purposes.