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Atomic disintegration in store for Georgia?2009-09-09 14:39
Metsamor APS might become a new object of dispute between Georgia and Armenia. As the Georgian press reports this atomic power station of Armenia is a threat to the neighboring country. This reminder was expressed after President Serge Sargsyan publicly spoke in defense of Georgian Armenians and Turkey started contemplating the possibility to open the border and lay Nabucco gas line via Armenia, not Georgia.
Armenia's Metsamor APS was constructed in Soviet time. In spite of two major accidents over the time of its operation the plant has never aroused Georgia's resentment before. It was the European Union who insisted on ArmAPS's conservation. It is located at a high altitude, and in case of an accident the water might be insufficient to cool the reactor tank, Rosbalt explains. The station is managed by INTER RAO UES.
Recently in the interview with Akhali Taoba (New Generation) newspaper Georgian physicist Mikheil Kaviladze stated that the atomic power plant in Metsamor town of Armenia created a threat to Georgia. The accident hazard has increased lately because of the plant's obsolescence. If there is a radiation leak all South Caucasian region comes under threat.
As a matter of fact, Armenia plans to erect a new atomic power unit with 1200 MWt capacity (thrice higher than that of the old one) by 2016 without Georgia's prompt. The project is estimated at nearly USD 4 bn allocated by investors including the Eurasian Development Bank, Armenian media report.
Apparently it was necessary to express discontent over the Armenian station after Armenian President Serge Sargsyan brought shame to Tbilisi for pressure on Armenian population of Georgia's Samtskhe-Javakheti. For a long time this problem has been hushed down at the diplomatic meetings. And now at the annual conference of ambassadors in Erevan the Armenian leader eventually heard his compatriots calling the Georgian authorities to assign a regional status to the Armenian language, provide for legal registration of Armenian Apostolic Church and take efficient measures to preserve Armenian historical monuments in Georgia. As Sargsyan stated "the policy in Javakh must result from the principle of integration without assimilation".
The Armenian president's statement made Tbilisi react negatively. State minister for reintegration Temur Yakobashvili answered that Armenia had better promote the Armenian language in Armenia where it is the only official language. Let it be the same way in Georgia. However let's not forget there are no compact communities of national minorities in Armenia. Besides the Armenians asked for a regional status to be granted to their language, not an official one.