Metsamor NPP: Reason for Process of 40-Year-Long Closedown

Metsamor NPP: Reason for Process of 40-Year-Long Closedown

www.azg.am, Gegham Qyurumyan

Well-known scientist and public figure Fadei Sargsyan's memoirs entitled 'Life Lessons' says, 'I can't fully burden the selection of the whereabouts of the construction of the Armenian Nuclear Power Plant on the leaders of that time, as I know that the leading specialists of our country in that field could have 'proven' them that the nuclear power station is completely safe and that the most expedient whereabouts for the construction is Metsamor. At that time, the Chair of Ministers' Council was Badal Muradyan, who told me everything in details mentioning that the decision was finally reached at Anton Qochinyan's after USSR Nuclear Energy Committee Chair A. Petrosyants's 'persuasive' report.

The question to what extent the location of a thermal nuclear power plant was justified in a place, where 'all the buildings have been constructed for 6 seismic magnitudes when there was a breach of 9 magnitudes nearby and all knew about it. It's just sufficient to say that in the radius of 50 km there were two million people living around the industrial square of the Armenian nuclear power plant.'

It turns out that the highest officials had concerns, there were some signs and concerns were expressed.

Fadei Sargsyan's memoirs say, 'On 19 January 1986, i.e. before the Chernobyl tragedy, a decision was reached to comprehensively check the state of the Armenian nuclear power plant in terms of the safety of its operation and to draw up a radical plan of actions based on the findings – how to deal with the Armenian nuclear power plant. A troublesome situation has been detected: we understood that we can't wait.'

As people say, 'the genie was let out' and it must be controlled with minimum losses. The USSR StateAtomSupervsion Chair, Academician V. Sidorenko was invited to Yerevan, who was proposed to establish an official competent committee designed to solve this troublesome situation. As a result, the specialists reached the conclusion that the Armenian Nuclear Power Plant didn't comply with the existing standards and rules in terms of safety.

One of the governmental resolutions on the closedown of Metsamor NPP has 8 substantiations, and in regard to the last one F. Sargsyan wrote in his memoirs, ' The operating wire was fire-hazardous, but to what extent it was hazardous I saw it when the wire was on fire in 1982. We were that close to a colossal disaster. One can say we survived due to a miracle.' These are the facts.

After miraculous survival, sever more long years were required till the First Secretary of ACP Central Committee Suren Harutyunyan addressed a letter to SUCP Central Committee Political Bureau and tabled the urgent closedown of Metsamor NPP. In line with the resolution of SUCP Central Committee Political Bureau, USSR Ministers' Committee headed by N. Rizhkov reached a decision on 2 February 1989 to stop the operation of the first power unit and the operation of the second power unit on 18 March. This is the whole story, only facts and nothing else.

18:22 September 18, 2018


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