Metsamor has been described as one of the world’s most dangerous nuclear power plants because of its location in an earthquake zone. It sits just 35km (22 miles) from Armenia’s bustling capital, Yerevan, with distant views of snowy Mount Ararat across the border in Turkey. The plant was constructed around the same time as Chernobyl in the 1970s. At the time the Metsamor reactor provided energy for the growing needs of a vast Soviet Union, which once had ambitious plans to generate 60% of its electricity from nuclear power by 2000. But in 1988 everything changed; the 6.8 magnitude Spitak earthquake devastated Armenia, killing around 25,000 people. The nuclear power plant was swiftly closed down because of safety concerns over an unreliable electricity supply to power the plant’s systems. Many of the plant’s workers returned home to Poland, Ukraine and Russia. Thirty years on, Metsamor plant and its future remain a divisive topic in Armenia. One of its reactors was restarted in 1995 and now generates 40% of Armenia’s energy needs. Its critics argue the site remains extremely vulnerable to earthquakes due to its location in an area of seismic activity. Its supporters, however, including government officials, argue it was deliberately originally built on a stable basalt block and insist further modifications, such as improved fire doors, have been made to make it even safer.
BBC 27th May 2019 read more »