Petition Closed
Petitioning US Department of Energy and 9 others

Call for Shut Down of Metsamor Nuclear Power Plant in Armenia


The recent earthquake in Japan has shown vividly the inherent dangers of nuclear power plants in seismically-active areas. If Japan was caught off-guard, then what is to say of the undemocratic and economically poor country of Armenia? The Metsamor Nuclear Power Plant (Metsamor NPP) was built during the 1970s, about 20 miles west of the Armenian capital of Yerevan (with 1.1 million population) in the city of Metsamor closer to the eastern border of Turkey and to Georgia. Academic study supported by Tubitak finds that in case of natural disaster in the Metsamor NPP, all area of Turkey and South Caucasus would be exposed to high radioactivity in a short period of time.   

The plant was constructed with two VVER-440 Model V230 nuclear reactors that are classified by The European Union (EU) as the "oldest and least reliable" category of all the 66 Soviet reactors built in Eastern Europe and the former Soviet Union. The design of the Metsamor NPP is much the same as those which the European Union (EU) insisted be shut down before Bulgaria and Slovakia joined the EU.

Metsamor is located in the area which has an 11-magnitude earthquake risk. It was built to withstand only a 9-magnitude earthquake. After the devastating 6.9- magnitude earthquake in Armenia in 1988, the authorities decided to close it, which is a proof that the Armenian authorities of that period realized the threat of Metsamor NPP in case of a natural disaster. 

Although the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe (PACE) documents expressed concerns more than once, that Metsamor NPP situated in the seismically active zone is a source of serious danger for all of the Caucasus region (Doc. 9148 of 27/06/01; Doc. 9336 of 31/01/02; Doc. 9444 of 07/05/02) unfortunately, the plant is still operational.

Austrian Foreign Minister Hans Winkler, an Armenian chemist and environmentalist campaigner and head of the Green Union of Armenia, Hakob Sanasaryan, Georgian physicist Mikhail Kaviladze are among many who have claimed that Metsamor NPP does not meet internationally accepted nuclear safety standards. 

Please join us to call international organizations, the U.S. Congress and Government, and all major Western countries to increase pressure on Armenia to shut down Metsamor NPP and to make all foreign aid to Armenia conditional to the immediate closure of the this nuclear plant this year.

Letter to
US Department of Energy
U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission
International Atomic Energy Agency
and 7 others
World Health Organization
United Nations Security Council
Alliance for Nuclear Accountability
Greenpeace
Commission on Environment and Agriculture of the PACE
U.S. Congress
United Nations Environment Program
The recent earthquake in Japan has shown vividly the inherent dangers of nuclear power plants in seismically-active areas. If Japan was caught off-guard, then what is to say of the undemocratic and economically poor country of Armenia? The Metsamor Nuclear Power Plant (Metsamor NPP) was built during the 1970s, about 20 miles west of the Armenian capital of Yerevan (with 1.1 million population) in the city of Metsamor closer to the eastern border of Turkey and to Georgia. Academic study supported by Tubitak finds that in case of natural disaster in the Metsamor NPP, all area of Turkey and South Caucasus would be exposed to high radioactivity in a short period of time.

The plant was constructed with two VVER-440 Model V230 nuclear reactors that are classified by The European Union (EU) as the "oldest and least reliable" category of all the 66 Soviet reactors built in Eastern Europe and the former Soviet Union. The design of the Metsamor NPP is much the same as those which the European Union (EU) insisted be shut down before Bulgaria and Slovakia joined the EU.

Metsamor is located in the area which has an 11-magnitude earthquake risk. It was built to withstand only a 9-magnitude earthquake. After the devastating 6.9- magnitude earthquake in Armenia in 1988, the authorities decided to close it, which is a proof that the Armenian authorities of that period realized the threat of Metsamor NPP in case of a natural disaster.

Concerned over the plant’s high-risk location and ageing facilities, the European Union in 2004 offered to provide €100 million ($135 million) in compensatory aid if Yerevan agreed to shut down the reactor. Armenian authorities have instead decided to expand the nuclear plant, approving the construction of the new 1,060-megawatt reactor unit at an expected cost of up to $5 billion (€3.7 billion).

Although the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe (PACE) documents expressed concerns more than once, that Metsamor NPP situated in the seismically active zone is a source of serious danger for all of the Caucasus region (Doc. 9148 of 27/06/01; Doc. 9336 of 31/01/02; Doc. 9444 of 07/05/02) unfortunately, the plant is still operational.

Austrian Foreign Minister Hans Winkler, an Armenian chemist and environmentalist campaigner and head of the Green Union of Armenia, Hakob Sanasaryan, Georgian physicist Mikhail Kaviladze are among many who have claimed that Metsamor NPP does not meet internationally accepted nuclear safety standards.

Also, the existence of the nuke plant in Armenia breeds nuclear smuggling and terrorist operations, exemplified by numerous U.S. government sanctions against Armenian companies and individuals, as well as arrests of Armenian nationals trying to sell nuclear technologies on the Georgian border. A major breakdown will also expose NATO and U.S. bases in Turkey to high radioactivity.

Please join us to call international organizations, the U.S. Congress and Government, and all major Western countries to increase pressure on Armenia to shut down Metsamor NPP and to make all foreign aid to Armenia conditional to the immediate closure of the this nuclear plant this year.

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