ArmInfo.The U.S. not being immediately involved in the launching of the first Armenian satellite to orbit by means of the SpaceX carrier by no means plays down the psychological significance of the event, Armenia's former vice-ambassador to the USA Armen Khazaryan said in an interview with ArmInfo.
"All the previous Armenian administrations had opportunities both to launch satellites to orbit and to develop nuclear potential using U.S. technologies. But they either failed or refused. And we can see Armenia's incumbent administration is succeeding step-by-step, and Armenia has made its first - and critically important - step toward realizing the potential of its relations with the United States," he said.
Although the step was made with a 30-year delay, it is evidence that, with political will displayed, it could produce results. Ensuring energy self-sufficiency and security has been a major development challenge facing Armenia over the last few decades, and nuclear power engineering is the cornerstone of ensuring this security, particularly the Metsamor nuclear power plant, which met 40% of Armenia's energy needs in the past.
The Armenia-U.S. nuclear power and security cooperation - at both the bilateral and international levels within the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) - has been rather effective since the late 1990s, particularly, in the context of the U.S. and IAEA assistance in ensuring safe operation of the Armenian NPP based on the non-proliferation treaty. And the U.S.-Armenia Memorandum of Understanding Concerning Strategic Civil Nuclear Cooperation (NCMOU) proved to be a crucial step toward developing this cooperation.
"Without implying any national or international commitments, the document sums up the intentions and defines the legal framework for nuclear power cooperation, which is the most significant result of Armenian Foreign Minister Ararat Mirzoyan's visit to the United States. I think the USA's involvement in constructing a new NPP in Armenia is possible, especially in the context of the intentions to cooperate in developing new nuclear power generating units and training of nationals," Mr Khazaryan said.