Armenia needs to confirm a concept paper and strategy on nuclear energy safety: this proposal was made by all the participants of the roundtable entitled 'Nuclear Energy in Armenia: Risks, Responsibility, and Safety'.
The participants of the discussions were Margarita Sedrakyan – Director of 'Metsamor of Hope' NGO, 'Armavir Territorial Development Center' NGO President Naira Araqelyan, Armavir Press Club Director Anzhela Stepanyan, Armavir Civil Youth Center Coordinator of 'Asparez' Journalists' Club Susanna Matinyan, 'Khazer' Environmental and Cultural NGO President Amalya Hambardzumyan, Expert Emil Sahakyan, 'Armenian Women for Health and Healthy Environment' NGO President Yelena Manvelyan, 'Association of Young Engineers' NGO President Hovhannes Karapetyan, 'Union of Public Defenders' NGO Executive Director Aram Grigoryan, 'Shogher Union' NGO President Hasmik Aslanyan, and EcoLur's team – Inga Zarafyan, Monica Yeritsyan, Victoria Burnazyan and Hakob Gevorgyan.
'EcoLur' Informational NGO President Inga Zarafyan presented 'Nuclear Energy in Armenia: Risks, Responsibility and Safety' study prepared by EcoLur. This study is based on such matter as the Armenian Nuclear Power Plant (ANPP) and related safety, operation and spent nuclear fuel, burial of radioactive wastes, the safety of relevant infrastructures, as well as responsibility for ensuring safety measures. This study is placed on www.ecolur.org . (http://ecolur.org/files/uploads/pdf/ANPP,%20EcoLur10112017/briefpolicyengnew.pdf)
According to 'Association of Young Engineers' NGO President Hovhannes Karapetyan, ANPP radioactive wastes can't be kept in the territory of Armenia taking into consideration the small space of the country and its dense population. Under him, the ANPP should be operated, but it should be operated literately. 'The nuclear power plant is one of the bodies producing the cheapest electricity for us. If we pass on to solar energy, our system can undergo shocks. In this case, the daytime tariff may become 100 AMD instead of 44.98 AMD, as the solar energy is more expensive. We shouldn't expose our energetic system to shocks, as the economic state of our country, in this case, will deteriorate. I support the further safe operation of the nuclear power plant taking into consideration all the risks,' Hovhannes Karapetyan said.
Expert Emil Sahakyan is radically against the operation of the nuclear power plant in Armenia. 'The internal consumption of electricity in Armenia males up 6.2 billion kph, out of which 1.8 billion is designed for other needs. In developing countries, the expense of electricity for other needs makes up 5%, in Armenia, it's 30%. When a decision will be reached to close down the nuclear power plant, that day we should think what to replace it with. When the Chernobyl accident happened, the Ukraine, Belarus, and Russia jointly lost 120,000 sq. m. area. If there is an accident in the nuclear power plant, we will lose our country. I radically oppose the existence of the nuclear power plant in Armenia. Nevertheless, the nuclear power plant can't be closed down radically: we should prepare for it,' Emil Sahakyan said.
Emil Sahakyan also spoke about emissions: '70% of the nuclear power plant emissions occur during repairs, which happen in the fall. The height of the nuclear power plant ventilation pipe is 150 meters and there are no winds in the adjacent area. Nobody knows where this 70% go,' the expert said.
'Khazer' Environmental and Cultural NGO President Amalya Hambardzumyan mentioned that Armenia can't perform its commitments without the existence of the nuclear power plant, which Armenia has undertaken in the frames of the global combating climate change. 'Comprehensive studies show these commitments can't be performed without the existence of the nuclear power plant. Nuclear safety can't be ensured without the nuclear power plant. The perspective of the nuclear power plant and nuclear energy should be considered not only in the frames of the general energy but also in the context of Armenia's prospective economic development. Armenia doesn't have such multi-sectoral approach and we should make this proposal,' Amalya Hambardzumyan said.
'Union of Public Defenders' NGO Executive Director Aram Grigoryan thinks it's very important to determine ANPP-impacted communities, 'Becoming an impacted community is not an end in itself: it's a matter of right. Communities shall receive a status in order to be able to protect their rights in future, and to compensate damage caused by the operation of the nuclear power plant.'
'The nuclear power plant is one of the most important target bodies as a source of energy. We should act in a way so as to have its correct operation and to have information available for the civil society,' 'Armavir Territorial Development Center' NGO President Naira Araqelyan noted.
Margarita Sedrakyan, Director of 'Metsamor of Hope' NGO, noted that the state should focus its attention on the carcinogenic diseases in the impacted communities and carry out medical checkup.
'I also support the literate operation of the nuclear power plant. Nevertheless, monitoring should be carried out on what the nuclear power plant leads to. We should also carry out a public opinion poll among the impacted population to understand how they assess the role of the nuclear power plant,' Armavir Civil Youth Center Coordinator of 'Asparez' Journalists' Club Susanna Matinyan said.
The participants of the roundtable approved the proposals presented in 'Nuclear Energy in Armenia: Risks, Responsibility and Safety' study. A decision was reached to develop and submit a concept paper and strategy on nuclear energy safety to the Armenian government.
16:21 December 27, 2017