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Armenia willing to share nuclear experience with Turkey, officials say


Ecrit par Hakan, 2011-03-31 11:29:31


Armenia has no intention of politicizing the country’s drive for nuclear power and is willing to aid Turkey in its quest for atomic energy, Armenian officials said.

“We have no intention whatsoever of turning the nuclear energy debate into a political issue and, as Armenian experts, we are willing to share our expertise and experience in nuclear energy with our Turkish and Russian peers,” Arthur Hovhannisyan, first deputy chairman of the RA State Nuclear Safety Regulatory Committee, recently told the Hürriyet Daily News & Economic Review.

Turkish officials raising concerns over an aging nuclear power plant just over the border in Armenia merely do so out of political motives, former Armenian National Security Chairman Ashot Manucharyan told the Daily News. “There is nothing to be worried about, we are carrying out studies and measurements meticulously.”

Turkey has long been concerned about the possible dangers of the Haygagan Atomagayan nuclear plant in Metzsamor, just 16 kilometers from the Turkish border. Such worries are resurfacing following the recent nuclear catastrophe in Japan following a tsunami that left the Fukushima reactor stricken and leaking radiation.

Hovhannisyan also said overt Turkish concern for the condition of the Metzsamor plant was due to latent political motives.

“Leaving everything aside, it is impossible to have such a big earthquake in our region as they had in Japan, and even if we close the power plant down, we will never compromise security measures. Turkish people should have no doubts about that,” Manucharyan said.

“We are [also] showing utmost care not to cause a catastrophe like [Chernobyl],” Manucharyan said.

Collaboration offer for Akkuyu plant

Armenia also plans to build a new nuclear plant in the country in collaboration with Russia.

“It is not that we are building this new plant because the older one is a potential danger,” Hovhannisyan said. “On the contrary, we are investing for the future already knowing about our country’s forthcoming energy needs. It is interesting that as Turkey talks about our plant’s dangers, they are preparing for the launch of a nuclear plant [in Akkuyu in the southern province of Mersin].”

Hovhannisyan said he had been closely following the developments about the Akkuyu plant that is also slated to be built in collaboration with Russia.

Hovhannisyan said the devastating Spitag earthquake of 1988 tested the durability of the Metzsamor plant, which is known to reside on a fault line. While the plant suffered no damage, the temblor killed thousands and caused extensive damage in Gyumri, the second-biggest city in Armenia.

Manucharyan said Armenia absolutely needed a new reactor equipped with the latest technology to supply the country’s energy needs. “Unfortunately we cannot trust our neighbors” for energy, he added.

According to an Anatolia news agency report in January, academics from Atatürk University in the eastern province of Erzurum had reportedly begun installing radiation measurement devices along the border to calculate the effects of an alleged radiation leak at the Haygagan Atomagayan plant. It was later revealed, however, that the devices were installed around the area to provide data for an earthquake map, not measure radiation.

The Armenian Foreign Ministry posted a disclaimer on its website denying the leak claims while the Turkish Prime Ministry Disaster and Emergency Management Presidency also refuted the report.

Link : Hurriyet Daily News

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