Nuclear Power in Armenia

  • Armenia has relied heavily on nuclear power since 1976.
  • It has one reactor in operation which is undergoing modernization to extend its operating lifetime.
  • Armenia is considering the development of a new nuclear unit.
416 MWe
Reactors Under
0 MWe
377 MWe

Operable nuclear power capacity


Electricity sector

Total generation (in 2021): 7.9 TWh

Generation mix: natural gas 3.4 TWh (43%); hydro 2.2 TWh (28%); nuclear 2.0 TWh (25%); Solar 0.3 TWh (4%)

Import/export balance: 0.6 TWh net export (0.4 TWh imports, 1.0 TWh exports)

Total consumption: 6.3 TWh

Per capita consumption: c. 2300 kWh in 2021

Source: International Energy Agency. Data for year 2021

Nuclear power plants

Operable reactors in Armenia


One Russian VVER-440 nuclear reactor operates at Metsamora, 30 km from the capital Yerevan. While its nameplate capacity is 407.5 MWe, it has been licensed since 1995 at 375 MWe.

Two model V-230 reactors, each of 407.5 MWe gross (376 MWe net), were built at Metsamor on solid basalt and supplied power from 1976 and 1980 respectively. Design operating lifetime was 30 years. These were the first Russian plants designed to be built in a region of high seismicity and were modified accordingly to be designated V-270. Plans for units 3&4 at the site were abandoned after the 1986 Chernobyl accident.

In December 1988 a powerful earthquake, resulting in the deaths of at least 25,000 people, occurred in northwestern Armenia. The Metsamor nuclear power plant 75 km from the epicentre continued operating normally with no damage, but both units were subsequently shut down in 1989 due to safety concerns regarding seismic vulnerability.

Unit 1, after 13 years operation, is now being decommissioned. In 1993, it was decided to restart the second unit due to a severe economic crisis and this was achieved in 1995, after 6.5 years shutdown. Since then the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) has been participating in safety improvements at the plant, which was scheduled to close in 2016 but will now continue until the new unit is commissionedb. In September 2013 Russia announced an agreement to undertake works to extend the operating lifetime of the plant by ten years, and in May 2014 Russia agreed to provide $300 million for upgrading the plant to enable lifetime extension to 2026. An intergovernmental agreement was signed in December 2014. In May 2015 parliament agreed to accept a $30 million grant from Russia and approved a $270 million loan for 15 years at 3%. To June 2020, $200 million of the loan had been provided. The final tranche will not be provided due to disagreement over terms.

In July 2018, the prime minister stated that the country was working to extend the plant’s operating lifetime to 2040. In December the IAEA completed a safety aspects of long-term operation (SALTO) review of the plant, and this was followed up by a further SALTO review in October 2021.

Turbine modernization would increase power by 15-18%. Rosatom subsidiary Atomenergoremont was undertaking the work from 2018. In 2021 the plant was shut for extensive work by Rusatom Service during a 140-day outage to allow for a further extension of its operating lifetime, initially to 2026 and eventually to 2036. The work involved annealing the pressure vessel to restore it to 85% of its original condition, by heating it to 475 °C for 150 hours and gradually letting it cool. The emergency core cooling and power supply systems were also upgraded. The plant reconnected to the grid in October 2021.

The only other two reactors of this type still operating are Kola 1&2 in Russia, and they have had similar work undertaken, with power increase and operating lifetime extension to 60 years.

All fuel is supplied by Russia, but this incurred significant foreign debt – some $40 million. As a result, the plant has been operated by a subsidiary of RAO UES and Rosenergoatom since 2003, as part of an arrangement to help pay off those debts to TVEL. This agreement is now with Inter-RAO.

The present Metsamor plant is a concern to the European Union (EU) and to neighbouring Turkey, 16 km away. There had been various calls to shut it down before 2016, but Armenia is very dependent on it and has said that it will remain open until a replacement is commissioned. According to a 1999 agreement with the EU,c Armenia would close the plant before the end of its design lifetime, provided that alternative replacement capacity is available. The EU undertook 'stress tests' on it in April 2012, following those in Europe. In October 2012 the government confirmed approval for a ten-year operating lifetime extension, and reiterated this in March 2014 and July 2015, while it sought the money to build a new unit. In October 2021 ANRA extended the operating licence to 2026.

In March 2023 the government approved a 10-year operating lifetime extension for Metsamor 2. The government stated that the several planned investments, along with the already implemented upgrades, could extend the operating lifetime of the reactor to 2036.

New nuclear capacity

In 2007, Armenia adopted a new energy strategy focusing on security of supply through diversification and the use of nuclear energy as well as renewable energy sources. Later in 2007, the energy minister announced a feasibility study for a new unit at Metsamor, the investigation being carried out with assistance from Russia, the USA and the IAEA. The new plant was at the time expected to go online about 2016.

In February 2009, the government announced a tender for a new 1000 MWe unit, the Armenia New Nuclear Unit (ANNU). In May 2009, Australian company WorleyParsons was chosen to administer the project, and a $460 million management contract was signed in June. Legislation providing for construction of up to 1200 MWe of new nuclear capacity at Metsamor from one or more reactors was passed in June 2009.

In December 2009, the government approved establishment of Metzamorenergoatom, a 50-50 Russian-Armenian joint stock company set up by the Ministry of Energy and Natural Resources with Atomstroyexport, with shares offered to other investors1. This is to build a 1060 MWe AES-92 unit (with a VVER-1000 model V-392 reactor) with a service life of 60 years at Metsamor. It would have two natural-draft cooling towers. In March 2010 an agreement was signed with Rosatom to provide the V-392 reactor equipment for it. In March 2011 the environmental assessment report was presented to the Ministry of Nature Protection.

Earlier in August 2010, an intergovernmental agreement was signed to provide that the Russian party would build at least one VVER-1000 reactor, supply nuclear fuel for it and decommission it2. Construction was to commence in 2013 and was expected to cost $5 billion. The customer and owner of new reactors, as well as electricity generated, will be Metzamorenergoatom, and Atomstroyexport will be the principal contractor. Armenia undertakes to buy all electricity produced at commercial rates, enabling investors' return on capital, for 20 years. CJSC Metzamorenergoatom is to fund not less than 40% of the construction, and early in 2012 Russia agreed to finance 50%, though in late 2013 this was reported as 35%. In July 2014 the energy minister said that Russia was expected to provide plant worth $4.5 billion out of the total $5 billion.

In May 2014 the government approved construction of the new reactor. In October 2015 the energy minister stated that Armenia was still considering, but yet to commit, to construction of a new unit.

In December 2015 the 'Long-term (up to 2036) development pathways for the Armenian energy sector' were approved by the government. The need for nuclear development was restated to ensure energy security and independence by 2027.

In May 2023 the country's prime minister said that negotiations were underway with "Russia, the USA and third countries" on the construction of a new nuclear plant.

Proposed nuclear power reactors in Armenia

Reactor name Type Gross capacity (MWe)
Armenia 3 VVER-1000? 1060

Fuel cycle

The government signed an agreement to become a partner from 2013 in the International Uranium Enrichment Centre at Angarsk in Siberia, under Russian leadership and IAEA supervision3. Kazakhstan and Ukraine are also partners in it.

Russia's Atomredmetzoloto (ARMZ) was participating in a 50-50 joint venture Armenian-Russian Mining Company setup in 2008 to explore for uranium in Armenia4. This was at least expected to provide for the country's domestic needs, but was unsuccessful and therefore was shut down in mid-2015.

Regulation, safety & non-proliferation

In 1993, the Armenian Nuclear Regulatory Authority (ANRA) was established as the regulator. The regulator's title is now the State Nuclear Safety Regulatory Commitее, but is still referred to as ANRA.

Also in 1993, the government established a new body under the Ministry of Energy to operate the plant, and in 1996 this was taken over by Armenian NPP (ANPP) joint stock company. At the same time, the Department of Atomic Energy was established within the Ministry of Energy.

Armenia has been a member of the IAEA since 1993, and of the World Association of Nuclear Operators (WANO) since 1996.

Non proliferation

Armenia has been a party to the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty since 1993, and in 1997 signed the Additional Protocol on its safeguards agreement with the IAEA. It has been party to the Vienna Convention on civil liability for nuclear damage since 1993.

Notes & references


a. The Metsamor – or Metzamor – Nuclear Power Plant (MNPP) is often referred to as the Armenian Nuclear Power Plant (ANPP). [Back]

b. The reactor commenced operation in 1980 and has a design lifetime of 30 years. Taking into account the period between 1989 and 1995 when the unit was offline, this would imply that it would reach the end of its design lifetime by 2016. However, early in 2012 it was confirmed that this would be extended until after the new unit is commissioned. [Back]

c. A Partnership and Cooperation Agreement between Armenia and the European Union (EU) entered into force in 1999 and the EU-Armenia European Neighbourhood Policy (ENP) Action Plan was adopted in November 2006 for a period of five years. [Back]


1. Armenia and Russia to set up joint venture to deal with construction of new unit for Metsamor nuclear power plant, ARKA News Agency, (3 December 2009) [Back]
2. Russia, Armenia seal agreement on cooperation in nuclear unit construction, ARKA News Agency, (20 August 2010); Yerevan Hails Russia’s Participation in NPP Construction In Armenia, ARKA News Agency, (24 August 2010) [Back]
3. Armenia signs up to enrichment centre, World Nuclear News (8 February 2008) [Back]
4. Russia signs up with Armenia, Namibia next, World Nuclear News (22 April 2008) [Back]

Nuclear Power Plants and Earthquakes
Early Soviet Reactors and EU Accession