"In 1988, a tremor of magnitude 6.9 on the Richter scale destroyed the city of Spitak, just seventy kilometers to the north, killing more than 25,000 people and throwing 500,000 refugees on the roads. The government decided to shut down both reactors as a precautionary measure," the article says, adding that in 1995, the government decided to restart the NPP, causing the concern of its neighbors.
"This plant (...) continues to pose a considerable risk for the whole of Europe because of its age and its situation in a region with strong seismic activity," wrote a European Union envoy later.
The latter proposed an aid of 100 million euros for the closure of the site, remind the newspaper, adding that Armenia refused the aid and continues to operate the NPP, risking life of millions of people.
Built in 1976, Metsamor NPP is based on technologies from Chernobyl NPP that ceased operations in 1988 due to a nuclear disaster.
The Chernobyl accident caused the largest uncontrolled radioactive release into the environment ever recorded for any civilian operation, and large quantities of radioactive substances were released into the air for about 10 days. This caused serious social and economic disruption for large populations in Belarus, Russia and Ukraine.
The Metsamor NPP is currently in a dangerous condition, a strong earthquake could result in a major disaster. This will not affect only those in the Caucasus but also can be a disaster for Europe and the Middle East
Experts say that radiation might spread at any time, as Armenia has turned Metsamor into a nuclear weapon, not the source of energy. All South Caucasus nations would suffer from a possible catastrophe. Azerbaijan and Georgia are located 120 km away, Iran – 60 km, Turkey – 16 km, the capital of Armenia itself – 30-35 km away from Metsamor NPP. Furthermore, Armenia is located in the Kura-Araz basin, any waste thrown there goes into the Azerbaijani rivers and then into the Caspian Sea.
Photos by Sebastian Castelier
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