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News // Middle East and OPEC

Armenia Ready to Ween Off Nuclear Supply

16 March 2004 , 10:57547
A gas pipeline between Iran and Armenia may begin contstruction in 2004, according to Armenian Minister of Finance and Economy Vardan Khachatryan.

The gas pipeline will become an alternative source of energy resources for Armenia in line with the programme of shutting down the Armenian Nuclear Power Plant. Some $1 billion are to be found in order to replace the plant's capacity, he said. At present, only the European Union has stated its readiness to allocate to this end 100m euros which will be transferred to a specially-designated fund. On top of that the EU will facilitate its search for international investors, Khachatryan said.

He did not rule out Russia's participation in the construction of the pipeline. The acting Russian deputy prime minister, Boris Aleshin, stated Russia's interest in that during his recent visit to Yerevan.

Khachatryan said that work is under way to build in Armenia wind power and hydropower stations as substitutes for the nuclear plant. It is also planned to upgrade the Yerevan thermal power station with the $140 million credit from the Japan Bank of International Cooperation. The minister said that there is a strategic programme to develop the Armenian energy sector by 2020 and the programme envisages a series of measures aimed at shutting down the nuclear plant.

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