Metsamor nuclear town has been taken out of the impact zone of Armenian nuclear power station leaving only Mayisyan small community as an impact zone with its summer houses and small buildings. Now neither Metsamor nor Mayisyan have any privilege and special program, which results in deterioration of residents’ social status living there. Around 70% of the residents heat their houses with wood, as they can’t afford to heat with gas or electricity. The sewage system of the town doesn’t work, as stink welcomes visitors here. Water supply system is in extremely poor state and the areas located near the power plant station regularly suffer from floods: residents’ houses are flooded. The number of Metsamor residents employed at ANPP is increasingly reducing. The residents from other regions, for example, Yerevan, gradually occupy their working places.
Metsamor Town was founded in 1969, as a residential area for the ANPP. There are no large plants here, no developed agriculture, which is specific to nuclear towns.
During EcoLur’s meeting with active public representatives from Metsamor and Armavir towns issues relating to ANPP-related social state, energy safety, environmental protection, human health and safety were raised.
Metsamor is speaking.
EcoLur: Are you happy with the general official reply that everything is normal here?
Khachik Danielyan, “ALT” TV: We are not satisfied. In the Soviet period Metsamor was the nearest residential area to the ANPP and 80%, if not 100%, were employed at the ANPP. In the past residents living around the ANPP received electricity free-of-charge, as a kind of compensation to damages. Now we don’t know how much the normal radiation background is in Armenia. Even the Municipality doesn’t know what the radiation background of the town is and it doesn’t have any opportunity to measure it. The information is hidden.
EcoLur: Are you ensured in social, environmental and informational perspectives?
Khachik Danielyan, “ALT” TV: There isn’t even a map, which would show the direction of the pollution of nuclear power plant. For example, as much as I know, Metsamor is safer than Arshaluys community…Air moves from north-west to south-east. If to take in general, Armavir is safer than Yerevan.
Ruzanna Vardanan, resident: When the ANPP was about to be operated, all mulberry trees in the adjacent villages were cut down: now many people have planted mulberry trees, but nowadays nobody follows it, even the planters don’t know that mulberry trees absorb radiation and it’s hazardous.
EcoLur: Do you have an action plan for emergencies and do you know who you should apply to?
Ruzanna Yenoqyan, “Family and Community” NGO: Around two years ago Head of Armavir Emergency State Department came to our organization and held a seminar on what to do in case of hazard posed by the ANPP. One-time information provision to 15-20 people doesn’t mean that all people are informed.
Naira Araqelyan, “Armavir Development Center” NGO: “There are trainings held at schools and state establishments, but there are no trainings among unemployed people. Moreover, as a citizen I don’t believe we have so many shelters, if anything happens.”
Anzhel Stepanyan, “ALT” TV: Metsamor town has been built based on the ANPP. If we see nuclear power plant, we understand Metsamor town.
Khachik Danielyan, “ALT” TV: The main employers used to be from here. There was at least one person employed at the nuclear power plant from each family, but today only 10% is employed at the ANPP.
ANPP Employer 1: Around 70% of the employees are from Yerevan ad 30% from the locals.
Khachik Danielyan, “ALT” TV: It doesn’t matter whether or not we have a nuclear power plant, the electricity price is higher than in Georgia.
EcoLur: What kind of energy carriers do you use for your own needs?
Metsamor resident Ruzanna Vardanyan: The cheapest is fuel wood and naturally we use it, as we can afford it.
Khachik Danielyan, “ALT” TV: If to take Armavir, 70% of the private sector heats with wood, as the gas doesn’t heat: even multi-complex buildings refuse from gas.
16:10 November 23, 2016