Often depicted as a disaster waiting to happen, Armenia’s 35-year-old nuclear power station, Metsamor, has passed muster with the International Atomic Energy Agency. But don’t expect the debate over the plant’s safety standards to end any time soon.
Armenian environmentalists and some energy analysts are challenging the IAEA’s initial findings as a pro-forma evaluation that does nothing to address the risks posed by Metsamor’s age, geographical location, outdated equipment and alleged lack of qualified staff.
“There is no industrial activity that does not pose any risk, but I think the results of our inspection show that this risk [at Metsamor] is acceptable,” Gabor Vamos, the Hungarian head of the 11-member IAEA Operational Safety Review Team for Armenia, told reporters on June 2 after a 17-day review of the nuclear power plant.
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Marianna Grigoryan is a freelance reporter based in Yerevan and editor of MediaLab.am. Anahit Hayrapetyan is a freelance photojournalist also based in Yerevan.