Hikmat Hajiyev: To conceal threats posed by Metsamor NPP – irresponsibility before int’l community - INTERVIEW

Hikmat Hajiyev: To conceal threats posed by Metsamor NPP – irresponsibility before int’l community - <span style="color: red;">INTERVIEW
# 16 June 2016 16:42 (UTC +04:00)

- What can you say about Armenian Deputy Foreign Minister Ashot Hovakimian’s speech at the meeting held in Vienna June 13 on the occasion of the 20th anniversary of signing the Comprehensive Nuclear Test Ban Treaty (CTBT)?


- In his speech at the Vienna meeting dedicated to the 20th anniversary of the CTBT, Deputy Foreign Minister of Armenia Ashot Hovakimian once again tried to cover up the responsibility that Armenia bears for the provision of nuclear security and prevention of the proliferation of nuclear materials.  


The Azerbaijani delegation that took part at the meeting once again informed the international community about former and current Armenian officials threatening Azerbaijan with secret weapons, including “dirty bombs” and the danger posed by the Metsamor nuclear power plant. The Azerbaijani delegation particularly highlighted numerous cases (recorded since 1999) of smuggling of nuclear materials with the involvement of Armenian citizens.  


- The Armenian official in his speech assured the international community that Metsamor NPP is safe and that the issues raised with regard to the NPP are politically motivated. What do you think of it?


- Built in 1976, with a technology similar to that of the “Chernobyl" nuclear power plant, Metsamor NPP is located in a seismic zone and poses a threat to the whole region. To conceal the threats posed by this plant is irresponsibility before the international community. The Armenian deputy foreign minister has deliberately not mentioned the fact that there is a serious problem like permanent cooling of the NPP’s outdated VVER4400 reactor.


According to experts, the VVER 440S reactor relies on “incident localization system,” which is totally unendurable against large-scale accidents and nuclear is emitted to the atmosphere immediately. According to National Geographic, in 1997 the US-based National Nuclear Institute came to the conclusion in its report on Soviet nuclear power plants that VVER-440 reactors are incapable of big network short circuits. Antonia Venix, an expert of the Austrian Institute for Applied Ecology, has called Metsamor the “most hazardous” NPP operating. With the support of the European Union, four NPPs with VVER 440S reactors were shut down in Bulgaria, and two more in Slovakia.


- Ashot Hovakimian said Armenia remains committed to the agreements and regimes on preventing the proliferation of nuclear weapons and supports the idea of creating a nuclear-free zone in the Middle East.


This is yet another evidence of inconsistency between Yerevan's words and deeds. The smuggling of nuclear materials carried out with the involvement of the Armenian citizens, as well as the detention of three Armenian citizens with uranium-238 in Georgia in April of this year shows that Yerevan is deliberately failing to fulfill its obligations regarding non-proliferation of nuclear materials and preventing their smuggling. As Armenia intends to smuggle Metsamor nuclear materials to the Middle East, Armenian official’s expressing support for the idea of establishing a nuclear-free zone in the Middle East is completely non-serious approach. These actions of Armenia run contrary to its obligations within agreement signed between Armenia and the International Atomic Energy Agency for the Application of Comprehensive Safeguards Agreement in connection with Treaty on the Non-Proliferation of Nuclear Weapons, Convention on the Physical Protection of Nuclear Material and amendment to it, Convention on Nuclear Safety, International Convention for the Suppression of Acts of Nuclear Terrorism, IAEA Code of Conduct on the Safety and Security of Radioactive Sources, IAEA Regulations for the Safe Transport of Radioactive Materials, as well as UN Security Council’s resolutions #1373 and 1540 on prevention of the proliferation of nuclear, chemical and biological weapons, and their means of delivery.


Azerbaijan has repeatedly expressed its concern to the IAEA in connection with the operation of Metsamor NPP. According to the IAEA rules, bilateral negotiations between any states are confidential. We hope that the IAEA is raising the concern of Azerbaijan and other regional states regarding the operation of Metsamor NPP before the Armenian government.