YEREVAN—Armenia’s government approved on Thursday the signing of a new agreement with the U.S. on nuclear energy cooperation. The draft will be submitted to the Armenian president for signing.

The Nuclear Safety Regulatory Commission of Armenia has been cooperating with the U.S. since 1995. The Armenia-U.S. Arrangement for the Exchange of Technical Information and Cooperation in Nuclear Safety Matters was signed on September 30, 1997, and resumed in 2007 and 2017.

Under the arrangement, the USNRC performed or sponsored research in areas such as Digital Instrumentation and Control; Reactor and Electrical Equipment Qualification; Environmental Transport; Radionuclide Transport and Waste Management; Dry Cask Storage and Transport; Fire Safety Research; Nuclear Fuel Analysis; Severe Accident Analysis; Operating Experience and Generic Issues; Human Factors Engineering; Organizational Factors/Safety Culture; Human Reliability Analysis (HRA); Probabilistic Risk Assessments; Radiation Protection and Health Effects; Seismic Safety; State of the Art Risk Consequences; Reactor Containment Structural Safety; Reactor Vessel and Piping Integrity; Regulatory Guide Update; New and Advanced Reactor Designs; Decommissioning; Thermal Hydraulic Code Applications and Maintenance; Uncertainty Analysis for Thermal Hydraulic Kinetics; Coupled 3D Neutronic and Plant Thermal Hydraulics; Medical Isotope Production; Long-term Operational Management; and Plant and Systems Operations.

The Committee on Nuclear Safety Regulation of the Republic of Armenia and the United States Nuclear Regulatory Commission signed an expanded Cooperative Arrangement on the exchange of technical information and cooperation on nuclear safety matters in Washington, USA, on March 14, 2023.

Maria Longi, Coordinator for U.S. Assistance to Europe, Eurasia, and Central Asia, stated that in a number of countries, including Armenia, the U.S. was assessing the feasibility of small modular nuclear reactors built with US technology that could facilitate greater energy independence from both Russia and China.

Armenia’s Prime Minister, Nikol Pashinyan, stated that small modular nuclear reactors with a capacity of 70 MW enable the existing capacities to be gradually built up. He said an Armenian government delegation will visit the U.S. soon to take a close look at the small modular reactors (SMRs) designed by US companies.

“American technologies will give an opportunity to construct modules with a capacity of up to 300 MW, gradually building up the existing capacities,” the Prime Minister said.

In 2022, the Armenian government and Rusatom Overseas (a unit of the Russian state atomic corporation) signed an MOU to look into the construction of a new nuclear power unit in Armenia.

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