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Armenia’s Metsamor nuclear plant poses potential threat to region – ombudsman

Azerbaijani ombudsman

Azerbaijani Commissioner for Human Rights (Ombudsman) Sabina Aliyeva made a statement on the potential threat posed to the region by Armenia’s Metsamor nuclear power plant, the Ombudsman’s Office told Trend  on Jan. 28.

In the statement, ombudsman expresses great concern over the recent discussions in the Armenian parliament on the use of radioactive waste from the Metsamor nuclear power plant for military purposes.

During a meeting of the permanent parliamentary commission on regional issues and Eurasian integration, Armenian Deputy Minister of Territorial Administration and Infrastructure said that Metsamor nuclear power plant produces a big volume of radioactive waste, as well as radioactive substances that are not classified as “industrial waste”.

“Moreover, we are concerned about the radioactive contamination of the Azerbaijani territories, which Armenia has held under occupation for almost 30 years,” the statement said. “The Institute of Geology and Geophysics of the National Academy of Sciences of Azerbaijan confirms the availability of information on the disposal of radioactive waste from the Metsamor nuclear power plant in some areas of the Nagorno-Karabakh region of Azerbaijan.”

“The Metsamor nuclear power plant, which lifespan has expired, poses a great threat not only to Azerbaijan and Armenia, but to the entire region,” the statement said. “Moreover, the location of the station in the earthquake-prone region of the South Caucasus makes it even more dangerous. There are five tectonic faults around the nuclear power plant, one of which is located just 500 meters from the plant.”

“The EU is aware of the risks posed by the Metsamor nuclear power plant,” Vice President of the European Commission Federica Mogherini said in 2017.

“The rapid closure and decommissioning of the nuclear power plant remains a key EU goal within the European Neighborhood Policy Action Plan, as the nuclear power plant cannot be modernized in accordance with internationally recognized nuclear safety standards,” Mogherini said.

“However, apparently, Armenia does not plan to close the plant, the terms of its activity have been extended until 2026 and for the further period,” the statement said.

“Taking into account all the danger that the Metsamor nuclear power plant can create to prevent a possible accident that occurred at the Chernobyl and Fukushima nuclear power plants, I call on all international organizations to take urgent measures to immediately close the nuclear power plant, safely shutting down its operation and take the nuclear waste of the nuclear power plant under strict international control in accordance with with the “Joint Convention on the Safety of Spent Fuel Management and on the Safety of Radioactive Waste Management” of the International Atomic Energy Agency, as well as the requirements of PACE Resolution #1588 of 2007,” the statement says.

About Fidan Abdullayeva