Sitting on the nuke, waiting for disaster

Armenian Nuclear Power Plant in Metsamor

Armenian Nuclear Power Plant in Metsamor

As more bad news emerge about Japan’s Fukushima Daiichi nuclear plant, which was hit by last month’s devastating earthquake and tsunami, I become increasingly uneasy about Armenia’s Soviet-built Metsamor plant.

My way of thinking is – if Japan, with all of its advanced technology, couldn’t properly secure their nuke plant, what will happen to our plant, should a powerful earthquake hit?

I’ve seen the disastrous earthquake in Gyumri in 1988 (I was just a kid than), and I remember, how the grown ups, who had just lost their houses, their relatives and were struggling to survive, where saying: “Thank God the earthquake didn’t hit Metsamor.” That was 22 year ago. Until recently, the Armenian government was planning to decommission the Metsamor reactor and replace it by a more modern facility by 2017. However, a senior nuclear official in Yerevan said last August that the shutdown will likely be delayed by several years because the construction of a new nuclear plant will take more time than previously thought.

I mean, the reactor is too old as it is already, and now they’re extending its service time? And Armenia is located in an area, where powerful earthquakes happen.

I can understand our officials – the economy was hit badly during the Global economic meltdown in 2008-2009, and the Metsamor plant meets about 40 percent of Armenia’s energy needs, its a major source of revenue and a hope for energy safety to Armenia’s economy, which is still blockaded by hostile Azerbaijan and Turkey.

But God, what will happen if an earthquake hits?

Armenian government officials and nuclear experts dismiss concerns, and say Metsamor’s reactor design is different from Fukushima’s and that the facility is reliable enough to withstand a powerful earthquake. Citing geological data, they claim that a magnitude 8.9 earthquake, which has wreaked havoc on Japan, is extremely unlikely to ever hit Armenia.

Another argument made by them is that the plant has undergone numerous safety upgrades since one of its two reactors was reactivated in 1995. According to the Energy Ministry, Armenia has received $130 million worth of assistance from the United States, the European Union, Russia and other international bodies to finance those improvements.

Right, so I believe them… do you?

Source: RFE/RL


10 thoughts on “Sitting on the nuke, waiting for disaster

  1. Good question Artur jan. Reading your article I am not sure that you believe them, as I definitely do not. And everytime I read this kind of articles I really get afraid more and more and always as you said remember earthquake in Gyumri…

  2. The biggest issue is that there is not containment dome to keep the radioactive material inside in case of an accident. I am not sure how the spent fuel is secured either.

    • ha ha . . . didn’t know that . . . i even did some reading to verify that and it turns out there is no containment vessel at Metsamor. . . that is indeed a little frightening . . .

  3. the designs of the plants are indeed different. The one in Japan is a BWR and what we have is a PWR type which is a generally more safer (unless the one building it fucks up which may well be our case. After all why are then EU and US fussing about the plant being not safe). Also what happened at Fukushima wasn’t the result of the earthquake but the result of the tsunami which came after it and destroyed all the supporting infrastructure.
    I do not expect anything like what happened at Chernobyl to happen here. But something small scale (local to the plant buildings and it’s immediate surroundings ) may still happen imho.
    Also i think that a relatively small accident may become a lot bigger(but still remain local to the plant) cause of not operative enough reaction of our government.

  4. the talks of contructing a new plant was in ’99 and that by 2009-2010 it would already be in place. the russians are in control of all of this. they were in talks with the chinese to do a joint venture project to design and build a new plant in Hayastan. I never heard/read anything about 2017 being the mark date, but now it seems likely that it will be 2017 by the time the design plans are set in place

    I’ve never been afraid of anything in my life, maybe when I was younger going to school was horrifying for me because I was being bullied all the time and picked on and beaten up several times. at this pont in my life I’m not even afraid to DIE, because I dont have much to lose in my own personal life.

    however one thing that really terrifies me in this world is losing my homeland and ppl. for me my homeland is my star of hope. I have no hope here in ugly fugly shit usa, where everyone else has it so easy and no worries/care in the world. well, its not like that for all of us here. I believe I will have a better quality of life in my own homeland than I do in otarastan.

    when that quake hit in ’88, I was a youngster too. I didn’t understand what it meant to be Hay, only I knew I was Hay, but I did’nt understand life in general, let alone what the quake and the homeland was about and how devastating it was to the ppl and our national security. now years later, I know everything and understand it all.

    if another ’88 strong style quake rocks Hayastan again and we suffer the same fate as Japan, a fright will consume me unlike any other I’ve ever experienced in the past. we can not have a chernobyl/fukushima in Hayastan. as it is most of my ppl want to flee the homeland in search of better quality of life. I find that to be insane, but so be it…I can’t control their thoughts and ideas of what/how it is to live in Hayastan. however, if we have a massive severe devastation in Hayastan such as a chernobyl, everyone will use it as even more of an excuse to abandon the homeland and of course, both external enemies will see an opportunity to invade and close the gap between them. radiation or not, monghols & tartars could care less about such things, they want the land and political global strategic location at any costs, even if it means to glow-in-the-dark

    something off topic, but very funny, very typik stanci

  5. I am against nuclear energy and as a matter of fact against energy driven industrial developments in general. I believe humans have to scale back and live in harmony with natural environment in an eco-friendly way.

    But, all this fuss about nuclear energy is NO problem whatsoever for Armenia.

    1- If Republic of Armenia wants to continue economic development, they cannot do it without energy, and since we have not so many other sources and are always begging for oil and gas supply from here and there, I find it non problematic that we run our our nuclear energy station.

    2- In case of a catastrophic event, that is NO probelm at all. Armenia has sufficient deposits of volcanic Bentonite, unfortunately, is being exported today to other countries and used recklessly. In chernobyl, children where given snacks with bentonite clay in it to eliminate radioactive material from their bodies. In case of a leak, Armenia will need to dump some tons of bentonite on the nuclear core and wait for it’s shut down. It’s as simple as that. By the way the japanese are now treating the contaminated water in fukushima using Zeolite which is a variation of bentonite clay. And by the way, did I mention that calcium bentonite clay, has the ability to cure ANY form of sickness known to mankind? bacterial, fungal, viral and carcongenic diseases. All can be healed using calium bentonite which Armenia is just sitting on and exporting to other countries to be used as construction material, road construction, drilling etc. Go analysze this, we have a mineral just in our country which can cut down the medical expenditure by at least 90% and give health and well being to ALL our Armenian fellows. In old times Armenian clay was famous for it’s healing properties knows as Bolus Armenicus, attested by Avicenna, paracelsus, and Hippocrates among others. And why nobody talks about this?? There’s no money in it, and the Pharma industry does not want this to be known.


  6. Anybody know that PANTURKISM stil live and well?Evel Anglo-American-Turkish bussiness like to erase armenia from map! Wtere is Armenian National GOLD fund?Kocharian sold to IMF !Who keep talking with PANTURKISTS azeris?Kocharian-Cargsjan tandem.Ewerybody know turkish-azeri final goal is PANTURKISH UNION !And Armenia will be destroed!This is reality approved by western power.We need MIATSUM today and stop any stuped talks with Panturkists!Turks will keep blokade to the end of Armenia!Everybody know that.Sargsjan try to make pease with them?Gift a land for road.Turks want Zangezur!Turks gona keep blokade and west cant do nothing!

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