Washington briefing: U.S. nuclear regulator ready to help Armenia
Published: Thursday February 19, 2009
Washington - "We have had a good bilateral agreement with Armenia," sharing technology and training, chairperson of the U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC) Dale Klein told the Armenian Reporter on February 13.
Asked if the United States would continue to have a role in Armenia's efforts to replace its existing nuclear power plant with a new one in coming years, Mr. Klein said he and his counterparts in Armenia enjoyed a "very good relationship" and, "if asked for help, [the NRC] will try to help to the extent that [it] can."
The NRC oversees safety and security of U.S. plants and provides expertise around the world. An NRC commissioner, Peter Lyons, visited Armenia last year and the United States had funded a feasibility study looking at options for building a new reactor.
Mr. Klein noted that for the United States to take part in the Armenian nuclear energy sector, privately owned U.S. companies would have to be attracted to the project. In general, he said, it made sense for Armenia to have a "diversified portfolio" in terms of energy supplies.
In remarks at the Council on the Foreign Relations, Mr. Klein said that 50 new nuclear power plants were being built around the world, 21 of them in China and 12 in India.
In the United States, in addition to 104 functioning power plants, 17 applications for 26 more reactors are currently being considered by the NRC.
But there are concerns that fewer reactors may end up being built, considering the economic slowdown and the Obama administration's reservations about the long-term impact of nuclear waste.