ARMENIA’S NUCLEAR INDUSTRY: THREATS AND CHALLENGES
Maxim Starchak, Executive Editor of Pathways to Peace and Security journal, IMEMO, Russian Academy of Sciences (Moscow, Russian Federation); Fellow of the Center for International and Defense Policy, Queen’s University (Kingston, Canada)
Soviet geologists estimated uranium reserves in Armenia at about 30 thousand tons, but actual reserves could be as high as 60 thousand tons or as low as 10 thousand tons, in which case uranium mining in Armenia will not be cost-effective. But the development of uranium deposits is hindered by difficult geological and mining conditions, and with low uranium prices their development does not make economic sense.
It will also be necessary to address the problems of environmental and nuclear safety and security in connection with both uranium mining and the operation of nuclear power plants (NPPs), as various civil society organizations and the local population of Armenia have already pointed out.
Given the future construction of a new NPP and the supply of fuel by Russia at its expense, Moscow will be able to control the development of the nuclear power industry and uranium mining in Armenia without much competition.
Keywords: Armenia, Russian-Armenian relations, uranium mining, nuclear industry, environment, nuclear safety and security.