ArmInfo.The construction of a new nuclear power plant in Armenia is one of the priorities of the new government of the country. On the eve, introducing the new Minister of Energy Infrastructures and Natural Resources of the Republic of Armenia Artur Grigoryan, Prime Minister Nikol Pashinyan stated.
According to him, the new NPP will be designed to increase the reliability and security of the energy complex of Armenia.
Commenting on this statement of the Prime Minister, Deputy Director General of Armenian NPP CJSC, Director of the program for extending the life of the second power unit of the Armenian NPP, Hera Sevikyan stressed that the issue with the construction of the new unit is not new. The station has all the necessary infrastructure - a platform, water, personnel, the problem is only the power of the new unit and its type. The construction of a block with a capacity of 1200-1500 MW for Armenia is unacceptable, since in the absence of the necessary volumes of consumption this can lead to the destruction of the entire energy system of the country. The optimal option would be a 540-600 MW unit, but the problem is due to the lack of these units in operation, and Armenia has chosen a policy of using exclusively reference stations. Also, during the discussions there are variants of the block with a capacity of up to 40 MW, but in this case 12 modular nuclear power plants will have to be built to compensate for the capacities of the operating unit, which is also a problematic task. "Yes, and with fuel for these types of reactors can be difficult," - said Gera Sevikyan. In addition, he continued, it is necessary to retrain personnel for work on such units, which is a very expensive activity, as the personnel of the ANPP is accustomed to working and familiar with the WWER reactor.
"In any case, we will keep, as they say, a hand on the pulse," the Deputy General Director of the ANPP stressed, adding that there is still time for making a decision. The current block is capable of working without problems until 2040. "The reactor is not in jail, it is in excellent condition, the main equipment is upgraded, capable to work for another 30 years. Technically and technologically, the station has no problems to extend its resource for a longer period, during which a final decision on the new unit should be taken," - the expert emphasized. He regretfully stated that the Armenian NPP in principle performs a social function, supporting the energy tariff at a relatively low level.
At present, the Armenian NPP is implementing a $ 300 million program financed by the Russian government ($ 270 million is a loan, and $ 30 million is a grant) aimed at extending the lifetime of the second power unit for a period of 10 years. During this period, it was initially planned to build a unit with a capacity of 1,000 megawatts, then 600 megawatts, now we are talking about small modular units with a capacity of 50 megawatt, which are intended to become nuclear decentralization. Nevertheless, in Armenia, based on financial considerations, more and more people are coming to understand the need for full-fledged use of the existing NPP unit, up to the year 2040. Thus, the issue of building a new block can only be addressed by 2030.
Reactors of small and medium power, from 30 to 300 MW, so-called modular reactors, can come to replace not only classical atomic units, but also thermal generation units. Today, according to IAEA estimates, there are 50 projects and concepts of small and medium-sized reactors in the world. They can be both stationary and mobile. Moreover, both terrestrial and marine installations are developed, which can be controlled from the shore remotely. Among the countries developing these technologies, besides the United States, Japan and North Korea, are also Canada, France, China, Russia, India, Argentina and South Africa. In addition, in Argentina, China and Russia is already building a completely different technology for the installation. The idea to build independent modular reactors was fixed in the world in the early 2000s. However, then they were considered mainly as reserve sources for developing countries, as well as for remote settlements, production and mining complexes. That is, places where it is difficult to stretch electrical networks. Today these projects are considered as independent generation complexes for any places, including densely populated ones. The concept of their development is based on the policy of decentralization of production and supply of electricity. Unfortunately, giant energy projects have become very vulnerable. Any natural disaster or hacker attack can disable large stations - and millions of people in a moment will be left without electricity. But local stations reduce such dependence and suffer less from natural disasters, since they have tightly closed internal infrastructure. Due to their size and locality, modular reactors are much safer than larger nuclear power plants. The second Chernobyl will not be on them, because other technical solutions are involved in modular reactors