The State Department hopes to gauge US private interest in funding Armenia’s new nuclear power station in the place of rusting, Soviet-era Metsamor.
“ We are interested in having U.S. companies participate [in the nuclear project,] if possible," Daniel Rosenblum, the State Department's Coordinator of US Assistance to Europe and Eurasia, told a November 16 press conference, Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty reported.
Russia has already promised to pitch in about a fifth of the estimated $5 billion construction cost for the new power station. In 2007, Washington sponsored a feasibility study for the project.
The old plant, which provides some 40 percent of Armenia’s electricity needs, was slated for decommissioning in 2017 over safety concerns, but the Armenian government may push that date back until the replacement is in place.
The government-created Armenian-Russian Mining Company plans to start uranium mining in the country’s southeast to produce fuel for the plant. But the plans are facing heated opposition from local residents and environmentalists.