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IAEA Concludes Long Term Operational Safety Review at the Armenian Nuclear Power Plant

Yerevan, Armenia

An International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) team of experts today completed a review of long term operational safety at the Armenian Nuclear Power Plant (ANPP).

The SALTO (Safety Aspects of Long Term Operation) follow-up review mission was conducted at the request of the Republic of Armenia from 26 until 29 October. It focused on aspects essential to the safe Long Term Operation (LTO) of ANPP Unit 2, a pressurized-water reactor with a net electrical output of 407 megawatts electric MW(e), which went into commercial operation in 1980. ANPP Unit 1 was permanently shut down in 1989.

The ANPP, operated by Closed Joint Stock Company (CJSC), is located near the town of Metsamor, 36 kilometres west of the capital, Yerevan. In October 2021, the Armenian Nuclear Regulatory Authority (ANRA) issued a permit to operate Unit 2 until September 2026, beyond the originally granted licence until the end of 2021.

The extension was granted based on a request of CJSC, which completed an extensive modernization and safety improvement programme this year, including: heat treatment of the reactor pressure vessel to recover material strength; replacement of large number of components of emergency systems; modernization of emergency systems and the control and monitoring systems; and replacement of safety related cables.

The SALTO team comprising three experts from the Czech Republic, Romania, Slovakia, and one IAEA staff member reviewed the improvements in preparedness, organization and programmes related to LTO against the IAEA safety standards, following up on the suggestions by the previous SALTO reviews in 2013, 2016, and 2018.

“The team observed that the ANPP improved preparedness for safe LTO,” said Gabor Petofi, SALTO team leader and IAEA Senior Nuclear Safety Officer. “Using the 2018 SALTO recommendations, the plant made significant improvements in ageing management. The team encourages the plant management to address the remaining findings from the 2018 mission and implement all activities for a safe LTO.”

The team concluded the plant had:

  • Developed a proactive approach to prepare for LTO;
  • Improved and updated its Safety Analysis Report to support LTO;
  • Improved the methodology for defining the scope of components designated for ageing management.

The team noted that further work is necessary by the plant to:

  • Implement the first periodic safety review in line with the IAEA safety standards;
  • Confirm resistance of electrical components to harsh conditions, so called “qualification”; and
  • Complete the comprehensive ageing management review.

The plant management expressed a determination to address the areas identified for further improvement and to continue cooperation with the IAEA.

“With the support of the IAEA, we can further improve our preparedness for safe LTO and implement ageing management effectively,” said Artur Grigoryan, NPP Chief Engineer. “The results of this follow-up mission indicate for us the remaining tasks to fully align our arrangements for LTO with the IAEA safety standards.”

The team provided a draft report to the plant management and ANRA at the end of the mission. The plant management and ANRA will have an opportunity to make factual comments on the draft. A final report will be submitted to the plant management, ANRA and the Armenian Government within three months.


General information about SALTO missions can be found on the IAEA Website. A SALTO peer review is a comprehensive safety review addressing strategy and key elements for safe long term operation of nuclear power plants. They complement OSART missions, which are designed as a review of programmes and activities essential to operational safety. Neither SALTO nor OSART reviews are regulatory inspections, nor are they design reviews or substitutes for an exhaustive assessment of a plant's overall safety status.

LTO of nuclear power plants is defined as operation beyond an established time frame determined by the license term, the original plant design, relevant standards, or national regulations. As stated in IAEA safety standards, to maintain a plant’s fitness for service, consideration should be given to life limiting processes and features of systems, structures, and components (SSC), as well as to reasonably practicable safety upgrades to enhance the safety of the plant to a level approaching that of modern plants.

The IAEA Safety Standards provide a robust framework of fundamental principles, requirements, and guidance to ensure safety. They reflect an international consensus and serve as a global reference for protecting people and the environment from the harmful effects of ionizing radiation.

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