TEHRAN — Iranian Foreign Minister Hossein Amirabdollahian refuted reports that the Metsamor nuclear power plant in neighboring Armenia may have polluted the Araks border river with radioactive materials, Tasnim news agency reported.
The foreign minister attended a meeting of the Iranian Parliament’s National Security and Foreign Policy Commission in Tehran on Sunday.
Asked by a lawmaker, who represents two border counties in the northwestern province of Ardabil, Amirabdollahian dismissed concerns about the radioactive contamination of the Araks River.
The foreign minister said a technical report and verification activities of the Atomic Energy Organization of Iran have dismissed any pollution of the Aras River caused by the operation of the Metsamor nuclear power plant in Armenia.
In August 2022, Azerbaijan’s Trend news agency alleged that the Metsamor nuclear power plant dumps 12,000-16,000 cubic meters of radioactive waste into the Aras River every day. Earlier, Turkish Parliament asked the IAEA to close the Armenian NPP.
The Armenian Nuclear Power Plant, the only one in the South Caucasus region, is located near the town of Metsamor, about 30 kilometers west of Yerevan. It was built in the 1970s, but was closed following a devastating earthquake in 1988.
In March 2014, the Armenian government decided to extend the plant’s service life up to 2026. The plan was financed by $270 million Russian loan and a $30 million grant.
In November 2023 the government of Armenia decided to allocate about 20 billion drams (nearly $50 million) in 2024 for the second extension of the service life of the nuclear power plant until 2036.