IAEA team reviews Armenia's regulatory framework for nuclear safety

Late last week, a team of safety experts from the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) completed a 13-week visit to Armenia where it took stock of the nation's regulations and standards for nuclear and radiation safety.

“Our review found some good practices, such as the existence of the Nuclear Safety Council, a group of international professionals who meet regularly with relevant bodies, including ANRA, and who advise the president of the Republic of Armenia," Integrated Regulatory Review Service (IRRS) team leader and director general of the Swiss Federal Nuclear Safety Inspectorate Hans Warner said. “We also found challenges, and I am concerned about the lack of timely progress in extending the operating license for the nuclear power reactor.”

Other problems included lack of human and financial resources to maintain Armenia's sole nuclear reactor, which provides 40 percent of the country's electricity.

“The IRRS mission will contribute to the improvement of the regulatory framework for nuclear and radiation safety and bring it in compliance with modern safety standards,” ANRA Chairman Ashot Martirosyan said.

The review team included members from Bulgaria, Cuba, Czech Republic, Egypt, Hungary, India, Iran, Lithuania, Netherlands, the Russian Federation, South Korea, Switzerland, Ukraine and the United States.

“In line with the recommendations of these reviews, we expect Armenian authorities to strengthen the national nuclear safety framework to support the continued operation of the Armenian Nuclear Power Plant reactor and prepare for the potential construction of new reactors,” Greg Rzentkowski, director of the IAEA Division of Nuclear Installation Safety, said. “The IAEA is prepared to support Armenian authorities as they strive to implement international requirements and good practices.”

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