YEREVAN (RFE/RL) — The United States hopes that American companies will participate in the planned construction of a new nuclear power station in Armenia, a senior State Department official announced on Monday.
Daniel Rosenblum, who coordinates US government assistance to former Communist states, said the matter was discussed at a regular meeting in Yerevan of the US-Armenia Joint Economic Task Force (USATF), which he co-chairs with Armenian Economy Minister Nerses Yeritsian.
“We are interested in having US companies participate [in the nuclear project,] if possible,” Rosenblum told a news conference after the meeting. “We did discuss it today at the session, although it’s one among many energy-related issues that were on the agenda.”
The Armenian government plans to close the Soviet-built nuclear plant at Metsamor, which generates about 40 percent of the country’s electricity, and build a new, modern facility in its place in the coming years. Chances for the implementation of the extremely ambitious projects increased in late August with the signing of a Russian-Armenian agreement on “technical and financial cooperation” over the plant’s construction.
Russian energy officials said Moscow could provide up to one-fifth of an estimated $5 billion in investments needed for the new plant. Yerevan has yet to secure other sources of funding.
The Russian and Armenian governments already set up late last year a joint venture tasked with building the plant’s reactor. Armenian officials said other plant facilities might well be built by or receive equipment from Western nuclear energy firms. According to them, equipment suppliers will be chosen in international tenders.