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The Nuclear Danger is Just 16 Kilometers Far Away From Turkey -31 December 2010

We as TURKSAM, organized a conference in 2008 and said “Are You Aware of the Danger?” to tell the possible dangers of Metsamor Nuclear Power Plant to the public. The conference which was organized by TURKSAM drew a great attention. But that was it… Interest did not continue, thus we could not present it as a national issue. We established a webpage, started a civil initiative and tried to attract attention to Metsamor. Unfortunately, today Turkish media and public opinion draws attention to this issue because of the earthquake, tsunami and nuclear danger in Japan but still nobody has noticed the danger, close to us. Metsamor Nuclear Power Plant in Armenia, which is 16 kms far away from Turkey, lies on the fault line where magnitude 9 earthquakes happened. Not so much, just a little time before in 1988, an earthquake happened in Spitak (a city in this region), approximately 50 thousand people died and the power plants became unusable. However Armenia opened the power plants again. Now, after any possible little-scaled earthquake, in Turkey and its region it is probable to live a disaster which will be more dangerous than Japan issue. While mentioning our hearts are together with our friend Japan society, we publish the detailed information about Metsamor Nuclear Plant which has to be taken seriously, below.
In 1986, Chernobyl Nuclear Power Plant Accident was happened in one of two biggest powers, Soviet Union where about 40 thousand people died, thousands of people became permanently incapacitated and economically million dollars were lost, nobody had been realizing such a big catastrophe could happen. But, that unfortunate accident was occurred and not only Ukraine, it affected all the region including Turkey. Today, these effects are also continuing. Nowadays, the same arguments are being discussed about Metsamor Nuclear Power Plant which is so close to Turkey and has a similar technology with Chernobyl. This nuclear power plant is which is being counted as dangerous by the whole world and EU and being tried to shut is still used by Armenia. [1]
According to the parameters of United Nations (UN), Europe Union (EU) and International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA), Metsamor Nuclear Power Plant in Armenia is accepted as the most dangerous nuclear power plant in the world. In September 1999, an agreement concerning closure of Metsamor Nuclear Power Plant in 2004 was signed between Armenian Government and EU. [2] Similarly, Armenia pledged to close Metsamor Nuclear Power Plant till 2004 while becoming a member to Council of Europe on 25th of January, 2001. Despite the pledges, Armenian Government started to work among this issue and using the lack of electricity supply as in the country an excuse, tried to increase the power of the plant. [3]
EU decided to give 100 million Euros to Yerevan for preventing the cost of power plant and creating new energy sources in the terms of Metsamor Nuclear Power Plant’s closure. However Armenia found that price insufficient and demanded 1 billion Euros from EU. The request, that was impossible to be accepted by EU was not based any realistic estimation was refused by EU administration. Hereupon, Armenian Administration declared that they wouldn’t close the nuclear power plant.
Apart from attempting to shut down the nuclear power plant, Armenian Government started the actions that are direct opposite of closure. Thus, the 100 million Euros fund that was being thought to transfer to Armenia was suspended for the undetermined time period. EU’s delegate to Armenia, Alexis Luber told that the mentioned fund wouldn’t be transferred to Armenia until they told an exact date about shutting down. For Luber, it is understandable that Armenia can not find an alternative energy source to Metsamor, but this problem can be solved till 2006. [4] In addition to that EU supports Armenia in Armenia-Iran natural gas pipeline project to ease to find an alternative energy source.
In relations with EU and IAEA Armenia pledges to shut down Metsamor, on the other hand Armenia continued meetings with Russian Federation thus Armenia supplied the necessary uranium for the nuclear power plant. Armenian officers have expressed that nuclear power plant will operate at least till 2016. Armenian Prime Misnister Andranik Markarian stressed that 100 million Euros EU fund is not enough for closing and finding an alternative to Metsamor Nuclear Power Plant. [6] The President of Armenian Parliament Ovanes Ovenasyan told EU parliamentarians that, in spite of promising to EU, they did not have to close the power plant. On the other hand, Ovanes Ovenasyan stated that “under some circumstances they can close Metsamor.” For Ovanesyan, firstly EU should assist the natural gas pipeline between Armenia and Iran. The other condition is; Turkey and Azerbaijan should lift the embargo and then open the borders. As it can be seen, Armenia uses Metsamor as a chantage subject and poses irrelevant conditions. [7]
Nuclear Power Plant In The Earthquake Area
Power plant was closed in 1988, one year after the earthquake which happened Spitak region and caused 25 thousand dead. Metsamor Nuclear Power Plant which could not handle the second earthquake threatened primarily Armenia’s itself, Turkey and the other countries in the region but the second bloc of the power plant was started to function in 1995.[34]
According to the international standards, it is not allowed to build a nuclear power plant in an area where magnitude 5 or more earthquakes happen. Whereas disregarding the rule, a nuclear power plant was built in the region where magnitude 9 earthquake can happen
during USSR era. During the construction period, scientists from USSR objected building the power plant by reason of being on the Agri Mountain’s fault line even they live under repressive Soviet regime. Likewise, they mooted the possibility of radiation oozing to subterranean waters at that time. However Soviet bureaucracy whose principle is central planning did not give importance to the human life, closed its ears to the opinions of scientists and built the power plant. [35]
Metsamor Nuclear Power Plant was built inspiring from the oldest Soviet nuclear power plant examples and technical facilities of it are not qualified. Moreover, it poses a great threat because it takes place in the first degree zone. Power plant was seriously damaged because of the earthquake which happened in 1988 and remained out of use for a long time. [36] However, because of the war triggered by the Armenian occupation of Azerbaijani territories, impoverishment and the increasing energy need in the country forced Armenia to re-open this nuclear power plant. Hence Metsamor Nuclear Power Plant which was closed in 1988, opened in 1995 again. [37]
The earthquake on 7th of December, 1988 in Spitak city and its region  harmed the Metsamor Nuclear Power Plant and it was operated without any renovation. After 3 months, in January 1988 because of the Armenian society’s protests, it was shut down. Metsamor is the first power plant in the world which was closed and opened again then started to function. First bloc of the Metsamor Nuclear Power Plant was closed due to harms of the earthquake, after several restorations, plant was not capable of operating and was not not re-opened again. But there is no government order found proving that the reactor will never work. After the closure of the first bloc of the plant, any other danger source for the region was the uranium’s unprotected position in the energy reactor.
According to Armenian Earthquake Research Center’s data, Garni region (the region where Metsamor Nuclear Power Plant takes place) is prone to earthquakes of Richter scale 5.5 to 7.5. [38] Even though Armenian officers declare that plant is quake-proof, nobody really knows the scale of the earthquake that an old technology product Metsamor Nuclear Power Plant which was damaged because of 1988 earthquake and remained closed for 6 years, can resist.
Reactions to Armenia’s Attitude
Armenia has not started any initiative for the closure of the plant, however several people have been insisting on the threat of the plant. When plant re-opened, they challenge to the decisions of EU and IAEA on the ground that, plant is dangerous for the region. [8] Azerbaijan applied to IAEA for the research of ecological, military and political results of the re-opening of Metsamor Nuclear Power Plant. [9] G-7 states also declared their concerns about the issue.
EU’s Delegate to Yerevan at that time and United Kingdom’s Ambassador to Yerevan Timothy Marschall Jones stated that: “After probable quake can cause a nuclear doomsday, Metsamor Nuclear Power Plant will fall into pieces and all the living organisms will perish. Armenia must keep her promise and close the power plant.”  [10] Italian Ambassador in Yerevan, Paulo Adrea Trabalza said that nobody can survive after a quake in this area.
United States of America’s (USA) Ambassador to Armenia John Ordway stressed that Metsamor Nuclear Power Plant does not perform the security conditions and said that his opinions does not change about the urgency of the closure. At the same time, he declared that USA will support security rising process. [11]
The necessity of the closure of the power plant was clearly mentioned in Southern Caucasus Report which was published by European Parliament in the last period of February, 2004. EU maintains its challenge about the closure of Metsamor Nuclear Power Plant. It was emphasized that Metsamor which was declared as the most dangerous nuclear power plnat with Kozlodou [12] in Bulgaria, does not fulfill the criteria of EU in the terms of security, place, finance, technology and age.
EU Commissary Janet Potocnik, who works in Yerevan to prepare a report in the context of EU’s Enlarging Europe and New Neighbors Initiative, emphasized to necessity of closure of Metsamor with his words “For this purpose, EU is ready to give 100 million Euros to Armenia.” [13]
Fredrik Nauhauz, The Head of Nuclear Plant Security Chamber in IAEA told that “according to the mutual opinion of the Western experts, all first generation nuclear plants have to be shut down.
One of the priorities in the 1999 EU Enlargement Report is taking nuclear energy security to the highest level in EU territories. Thus, it was stressed that first of all old technology product Soviet nuclear power plants which were not harmonized with the EU security standard must be closed. [15]
Head of Greenpeace Russia  Ivan Blokov announced that, rise of the little accidents in the Metsamor Nuclear Power Plant is an indicator of insecure situation. While denoting the hig risk of accident in Metsamor, Blokov said that the old WWER–440 technology is also used in İgnalinski Power Plant and because of that Lithuania decided to close this power plant which has high risk of accident before the estimated time.
Against the all disputes existed when it was opened, Western countries offered conditional aid packages, financial and technical support to Armenia. Because EU knows that because of the energy crisis in Armenia, its power plant closure request can not be –immediately- implemented. Due to an agreement that was signed between EU and Armenia in 1996, financial aid was given to Armenia about increasing the energy security level. In the direction of these financial aids, Armenia pledged to close the nuclear power plant. But recently, Armenian authorities told that it will not be possible to shut the nuclear power plant down if an alternative way is not found. USA Energy Department supplied 18 million dollars and EU supplied 11 million dollar as financial aid. Moreover, France gave 40 million dollars for nuclear waste storage facilities and England gave 80 million pounds for the additional security measures. [17] All of these were done considering that Armenia will close the nuclear power plant as soon as possible.
The Oldest Technology
The Metsamor Nuclear Power Plant in Metsamor district in Armenia whose name is Oktembrian[18] was built by the oldest nuclear technology in the world. This nuclear power plant is known with the different names in Turkey and in foreign countries. The correct use of the name is “Metsamor” but in media such names as ““Metzamor”, “Medzamor” and “Medsamor” is being used.
Metsamor Nuclear Power Plant was built with the oldest Russian technology. Metsamor Nuclear Power plant was built in to two blocs and consists of two units Metsamor 1 and Metsamor 2. WWER 440/V230 type Metsamor-1 unit’s power is 240 MWe. The construction was started in 1973, finished 28th of December 1976. WWER 440/V270 type Metsamor-2 unit’s power is 400 MWe. The construction was started in 1975 and the second unit was totally built in 31st of December, 1979 and then the electricity production was started.
Now “WWER”[19] technology based on frigofric pressure system is no longer used around the world still in use in Metsamor Nuclear Power Plant. WWER type nuclear power plants are so unprotected to the accidents. For IAEA, Metsamor is the most dangerous power plant in the world. [20] However, the appropriate security system harmonized with the Western standards was not set up in the power plant. Furthermore, the 2 meters steel armor that has to cover the core of the power plant hasn’t built yet.
Like Metsamor, “WWER-440” type reactors’ thermal energy power is 1375 MVt, electricity productive power is 440 MVt. But the power plant products approximately 320-340 MVt electric energy. The tribune type of Metsamor is “K-220-44/3000”. 11,8 meters high reactor’s diameter is 4,27 m and inner diameter’s dimension is 3,56 meters. The reactors consume 14 tons of uranium and each of them weighs 201 tons.
Nearly 100 problems were noticed by IAEA experts during the investigation about the planning and operation of the power plant. (IAEA Publish – TECDOC-640 Ranking of Safety Issues for WWER-440 model 230 Nuclear Power Plants) 60 of them are the security problems which necessitate the urgent measure taking. The original planning of the reactors have these main problems:
The reactors do not have any protected place but have only protection system called ”confinement”. In this system, when pressure exceeds a certain limit, the radioactive gases in it ooze to the atmosphere. This system design is not guillotine type so it was not able to prevent the results of the main accidents which is foreseen in the modern reactors.
In the original planning, burdens caused by over 0,1 seismic acceleration values are not taken into consideration.
Instrumentation and control systems include some deficiencies and inadequacies.
The fire protection measures are so poor.
The planning of the security systems like Emergency Ember Cooling System is not based on the serious and appropriate analysis.
There is no security analysis report.
It was planned, constructed and started working without passing serious license process.
The power plant consists of Metsamor 1 and Metsamor 2 was started to run – successively- in 1976 and 1979. This VVER 440/V270 type power plant was founded like the model of Kozlodu in Bulgaria. This power plant can resist maximum 8 degree Richer Scale quakes but the region where Metsamor Nuclear Santral takes place is open to magnitude 9 earthquakes.
Four reactor modals, VVER, PBMK, EGP and BN were used in the power plants which were founded in Soviet era. After the 40 years experience, it was tested that VVER reactors are so insecure and the modal of the reactor used in Metsamor is VVER. Among the power plants constructed in Soviet era, the majority of the accidents happened in the power plants that contain VVER reactors. Armenian Parliament Energy Commission Delegate Robert Hazaryan expressed his opinions with these words: This nuclear power plant is not harmonized with EU criteria. Chernobyl showed European power plants are safer. [22] Furthermore, Armenian Minister of Energy admitted that Metsamor’s standards can never reach to Western standards. [23]
While Ukranie’s Chernobyl Nuclear Power Plant was built in RBMK style, Metsamor was built in VVER style. Metsamor Power Plant’s first unit contains a first generation VVER-440/230 modal reactor. This is the oldest one and the security system of it is the worst. Under these circumstances, Metsamor is more dangerous than Chernobyl. Differently than the European ones, this modal does not contain a steel dome which prevents radioactive element ooze. Moreover, the lack of the modern technical and security facilities, the lack of water which is used for cooling the reactor, construction of the cooling system with the old first generation project, also pose serious threats to the ecological life of the region. [25] the second unit of Metsamor was constructed by the second generation type VVER-440/270. It was more developed than the first unit but it also does not have the technical equipment and security system that has the capacity to prevent the nuclear disaster. This type is also so lower than European standards. [26] Risks of the nuclear power plant and the disadvantages of the Metsamor Nuclear Power Plant design prove that the risk of this nuclear power plant is too big to foresee.
An Example: Chernobyl Power Plant Accident
The events occurred in Chernobyl the old product Chernobyl Power Plant shows what old reactors can cause. As it is known, Ukrainian Minister of Environment Yuri Sherbak summarized the alarming result of Chernobyl Nuclear Power Plant accident in 1986 which harmed environment and human health with these numbers. 38 people suddenly died, 6000 people died in the following months and during the following years this number reached to 40000. Thousands of people became permanently incapacitated, hundred thousands of people contracted diseases especially cancer. Millions of animals and people primarily in Russia, Ukraine, Belarus, Moldova, Turkey and Northern Europe affected by Chernobyl Nuclear Power Plant Accident and the soil were polluted in these territories. It was told that the cost of this disaster is 352 million dollars.
Turkey was significantly affected from the nuclear power plant which was hundreds of kilometers far away. Now, the mentioned nuclear power plant is just 16 kilometers far away from Turkish border. Just after any ooze and accident situation in the nuclear power plant, firstly Igdir (Turkish city, next to Armenia border) and east and the southeast of Europe will be covered by nuclear clouds. Not only for Kars, Agri, Igdir, Yereven and Nakhchevan Turkey, Metsamor Nuclear Power Plant exists as a problem also for the region where Georgia, Azerbaijan, Iran and Turkey lie.
Accidents in Metsamor
Many accidents have occurred since the foundation of Metsamor Nuclear Power Plant. The first accident occurred in 1982 and a total of 5 large-scale and more than 150 smaller accidents occurred in Metsamor. [28] A huge risk was avoided with the explosion of the generator in the first bloc and the burning of the connecting wires. Yet, as a result of this accident, the protection system of the plant was totally disabled.
In the recent years the small scale accidents frequently lead to the closure of the plant. The plant was closed at the beginning of the year 2003 and it re-opened with the activation of Metsamor 2 bloc which has a capacity of 407 MW. In addition, in the summer of 2004 another small scale accident had led to the closure of the plant for a few months
Armenia is discussing the construction of a new Nuclear Plant when the closure of Metsamor Nuclear Plant is expected in general. The Armenian Energy Regulatory Commission in the presence of Prime Ministry is currently negotiating the construction of a new Nuclear Plant. [29] According to the declaration of the vice-president of the commission Nikolay Grigoryan a new plant will cost 600-700 million $ with the Russian technology and will cost between 1-1.2 billion $ with the use of western technology. Currently, Yerevan administration is calculating the costs of alternative energy resources which will get to 1 billion $ and therefore do not agree to close the plant.
Armenian Prime Minister Andranik Magaryan pointed out that at least 1,5 billion $ is needed to close the plant. [30] As for the president of the Energy Commission of the Armenian Parliament Vardan Movisisyan 100 billion euros is even not enough. However, Movisisyan was more cautious than other Armenian authorities and he declared that they needed at least 300 million Euro for alternative energy resources.
According to the news reported with reference to the Armenian Minister of Energy Gagik Martirosya the new plant is planned to be constructed at Turkish border and in the earthquake zone. Metsamor Nuclear Plant is in the position of being the first nuclear plant to be re-activated after its closure for a while. For this reason, it is unpredictable to what extent these plants are durable in such circumstances. [31]
Armenian writer Tigranyan point outs to the ambiguity of constructing potentially dangerous natural plants instead of constructing oil and/or natural gas pipelines in Armenia, at the Soviet era when rich oil and natural gas resources in Caucasus were available. [32]
On the other hand, counter to the enormous technological advancement, nuclear plant accidents experience a serious increase. The below figures prove this fact.
A total of 5 accidents between 1952-1961
A total of 5 accidents between 1962-1971
A total of 13 accidents between 1972-1981
A total of 32 accidents between 1982-1991 [33]
Metsamor’s Transfer to Russia
A huge crisis had broken out after the closure of the plant which produces about 40 percent of Armenia’s energy needs as a result of incompatible attitude of Armenia to its neighbors and the resulting embargos. The energy crisis of 1990’s resulted with sharp transitions in social and economic fields in Armenia which poor in natural resources. The affects of this period reveal itself in the energy policies of the period. To recover from the crisis, Armenian government had decided to open Metsamor Plant and in 1994 signed an agreement with Russia which includes financial support and provisions about fuel purchase. Metsamor Nuclear Plant was re-activated in 1995 and from that date it has started drawing reaction from the states of the region, the US, EU and from the institutions like International Atomic Energy Agency. However, the difficulty of Armenia in affording the fuel purchased from Russia leads to the closure of the plant only for short periods. [39]
Russian Minister of Industry, Science and Technology İlya Klebanov announced that the transfer does not include proprietorship and Armenia will keep the property rights after the agreement, but nonetheless, fiscal responsibility will be passed on to Russia. Experts emphasize that the transfer to Russia contradicts to the responsibility that Armenia has to fulfill before EU. [40]
An agreement between Kocaryan and Putin was signed on September 15, 2001 to overcome the debt crisis between the countries, with reference to the “nuclear energy” cooperation protocol that has signed on June 26, 2000 between the government of the Russian Federation and the government of Armenia. .[41] As a result of the failure of Armenia in paying back the debt for uranium it has purchased from Russia, the financial management of Metsamor stocks were transferred to the Russian company UES (Russian Unified Electric Systems) (YeES ROSSİİ) for the compensation of a debt of approximately 40 billion $ in February of 2003 .[42]
Armenia had also taken loan from Russia for the fuel needed to operate Metsamor Nuclear Plant and it signed the agreement providing the transfer of Hrazdan Plant to UES in August 2003 on account of the fuel had borrowed. [43] After the long negotiations between the parties, Russia and Armenia had come to an agreement on granting a team of 650 technical experts and enriched uranium to Armenia. [44] Though Armenian opposition objected to the transfer of infrastructure establishments to Russia, they failed to prevent this transfer as a result of the situation of the country. [45]
At present, Metsamor Nuclear Plant not only supply 40 percent energy requirement of Armenia but it also constitute a resource for the electricity export of Armenia to Iran and Georgia. [46]
Flying Atomic Bomb
The nuclear fuel used at Metsamor Nuclear Plant is being brought to Armenia by air from Russia. This is because the land and rail roads connecting Russia to Armenia over Georgia is closed as a result of Georgian-Abkhaz conflict. By this unprecedented dangerous way the airplanes carrying uranium are landing to civilian airports in Yerevan.
The Head of the EU’s delegation in Armenia Alexis Louber define airline transport of nuclear fuel as “flying around a potential nuclear bomb” and stated that “This is unprecedented in the world; the dispatch should be made either by railroad or sea-shipment”. Louber also pointed out to the danger by saying “Principally the nuclear reactors are must not to be constructed on seismically active places. This reactor is hazardous for the whole region.”[47] However, the Armenian authorities are not of the same opinion and they do not sense any danger in the operation of the plant. In addition, they also indicate that Russia shoulders the responsibility of the transportation of the fuel.
The Head of the EU’s delegation in Armenia Alexis Louber’s words for keeping the plant open as “flying around a potential nuclear bomb” attracted a serious reaction in Armenia. [48]
The Strategic Importance of Nuclear Plants
The spokesmen of nuclear industry stress at every opportunity that nuclear weapons do not have any relation with the nuclear plants. However, if we look back on the period when the first nuclear tests were performed, we can see the refutation of this assertion. Nuclear Power Plants are culmination of nuclear arms studies. In 1942, a group of scientists, military men, industrialists and politicians had achieved a joint project called Manhattan Project. This project resulted with the bombing of Hiroshima and Nagasaki in 1945. The guilt feelings of the tragic consequences of these two incidents, led many scientists to explore “peaceful use” of nuclear energy. The pamphlet entitled “Atomic Future” published in 1946 is the first document articulating the term “peaceful atom”. This term aimed to erase the memory of the military use of nuclear energy from the minds. In addition, this sort of energy developed by the Manhattan Project by the US had started to be one of the key elements of the US defense policy. The suggestions of many scientists on telling the truth about nuclear danger were neglected by the politicians and the US had continued its efforts to establish “a peacetime nuclear industry”. [49]
In addition, the companies producing the constituent parts of the nuclear plants are also the companies which produce nuclear weapons. At present, a private organization making research for the production nuclear of energy does not exist anywhere in the world. These researches are being carried out by companies in the nuclear weapon business. The two most important nuclear power companies General Electric and Westinghouse are at the top of the companies providing arms to the US Defense Industry.
The most effective substance providing the connection between nuclear power and nuclear weapons is Plutonium. Plutonium is produced as a consequence of the process in Nuclear Plants and it is used in the production of nuclear weapons. A nuclear plant producing 1000 MW energy produces approximately 250 kg of plutonium annually. This amount is sufficient for the production of more than 20 nuclear weapons. The excess plutonium produced in the nuclear plants and the enriched uranium is directly related to the production and proliferation of nuclear weapons. Each state having the “peaceful exercise” of nuclear power also has a capability of” military exercise”.
Armenian government makes the use of the Metsamor Nuclear Plant not only for electricity production but also performs serious studies on nuclear arms technology. The speech of the Prime Minister of the time Grant Bagratyan as “Nuclear Power makes Armenia superior to the other states in the region” reveals the fact that Armenia is not interested solely in nuclear energy. [50]
Metsamor in Military Terms
One of the most important reasons for the opposition in Iran’s construction of Nuclear Plants is the risk of development of nuclear weapons from the enriched uranium. Therefore, the US and Israel are expressing that they will prevent Iran’s nuclear programme at any expense. However, one point is being neglected: Armenia has a capability of developing such nuclear weapons from the Metsamor Plant. On the other hand, there is a high risk of any terrorist organization seizing the enriched uranium from Armenia as a result of an incursion or by other methods.
Therefore, besides the risk of an accident, the plant also jeopardizes the security of exterritorial countries, notably Turkey and Azerbaijan with the nuclear weapons to be developed. Hence, Armenia is the most accessible enriched uranium source for a terrorist attack against the USA and with the Metsamor Nuclear Power Plant this country poses a threat for the world security.
Centran News Agency asserted that in 2002 the US had agreed with the Armenia to close the Metsamor Plant. This deal was made because the US had refrained from the proliferation of the nuclear arms and substances like uranium and the seizure of these by any terrorist organization as this posed a serious threat for its own security besides the risks for the environment. However, according to the Agency, Yerevan backed out of closing the Plant. [51]
At the same time, Armenia is a neighbor of Iran which is perceived as a potential nuclear risk and Armenia itself is among the states constituting a potential nuclear threat to the US. In a statement of the US Department of State, Metsamor Nuclear Plant is open to terrorist attacks and constitutes a threat as a result of neighboring Iran. [52]
The Effects of the Plant to Turkey
According to the studies on the people affected from the nuclear bombing of Hiroshima and Nagasaki, ones who are exposed to radiation experience lingering illness period and the effects of these emerge after 5-30 years. Thus, the effects of Chernobyl disaster on Eastern Black Sea inhabitants came to be seen after 18 years. Currently, the effect resulting form the leaks from Metsamor Nuclear Plant on Igdir and adjacent regions are unknown.
Though any accurate research has not been made, with the observations in the region, it is blatantly obvious that the dehydration in the plant cover, crippled animal births, and the rise of cancer, crippled births, infant mortality and child deaths are the results of the Metsamor Nuclear Plant. Thus, as mentioned above, Metsamor Nuclear Plant has exceeded the 5 year period to reveal the effects on people. The above mentioned illnesses are estimated to prevail more frequently and the increase rates of these illnesses are anticipated to be higher in the nearest settlement Igdir.
The damage of Metsamor Nuclear Plant to Turkey is not only through the leaks. The plant which will complete its technical working life in the year 2005 may experience an accident at any moment. The leaks may occur as a result of an earthquake or other reasons. As a consequence of such an incident, the eastern and the southern region of Turkey may seriously be damaged.
The experts state that the plant can not stand a medium intensed earthquake in the region. The Council of Europe, taking the danger into account, repeatedly warned Armenia to close the plant. In the case of an earthquake or another accident, it will cause a severe damage to Armenia, Nakhchevan, Iran, Azerbaijan, Georgia and to the Eastern Anatolia region of Turkey. After an accident, the Igdir province which is just 16 km away from this plant is at the risk of being completely removed. This risk can also be the end of Armenian people which has lost half of its population with migrations.
The most dangerous nuclear plant Metsamor is operating at a few kilometers distance from Turkish border. The plant which is installed on the fault line, give local people “Chernobyl fears”. Today, the Soviet-made, outdated plant just in front of Igdir, is providing electricity to Armenia. Only after an earthquake, it will become evident whether the plant is safe as it is claimed by Armenia.
The Ecological Threat of Metsamor Nuclear Plant
There are two countries directly exposed to risk of the reactor: Azerbaijan and Turkey. The waste water used in cooling the reactor is poured out to Aras River and the river crosses the Azerbaijan border, meets the Kur River and flows to the Caspian Sea. [53] This situation is being expressed at the European Council frequently by Azerbaijan deputies. Besides, Azerbaijan asserts that nuclear waste is disposed to the territory under the occupation of Armenia and states that the radioactivity rate in the region has increased in the measurements. [54]
In Turkey, though such measurements are not made, some incidents in Igdir region is believed to result from the plant. The dehydration of plant cover in the borderland, crippled animal births, and the rise of cancer, crippled births, infant mortality and child deaths are appeared to be the results of the Metsamor Nuclear Plant. [55] It was detected that people exposed to radiation experience invisible illness phases and these come of after 5-30 years. Thus, the effects of Chernobyl disaster on Eastern Black Sea inhabitants came to appear after 18 years. With its re-activation in 1995 Metsamor Plant is active for 9 years and its effects are yet appearing. The recent situation in Igdir lacks a concrete evaluation. Authorities must explore the situation, announce the results to the world public opinion and if the correlation is proved to exist, the international law mechanism must be activated.
Though the electricity production in nuclear plants does not exceed the definite limits, it might leave some side effects on the local people after 5-30 years. According to the research made on the people affected from the nuclear bombings on Hiroshima and Nagasaki, it was detected that people exposed to radiation experience invisible illness phases and these come of after 5-30 years. Thus, the effects of Chernobyl disaster on Eastern Black Sea inhabitants came to appear after 18 years. [56]
Figure 1
The invisible illness phases of people exposed to radiation once in Hiroshima and Nagasaki
Mass Symptoms
After 5 years
After 10 years
Breast and lung cancer
After 20 years
Stomach, tissue and intestinal cancer
After 30 years
Source: Aleksey Yablokov, Mif O Bezopasnosti Malıh Doz Radiaçii, Moscow, 2000, p. 16.
The radiation spread to the environment through the regular operation of a plant pass to the living things by nutrition or through respiratory tract. These radiations deform the atoms and molecules composing viable cells by ionizing them. In addition, these deform the chemical form of DNA’s which control the cell division and this causes to the crazy division of millions of identical degenerated, planless cells reproducing and leading to cancer instead of normal division into two cells. Besides, resulting with cancer, instantaneous transformation in the genotype of a living being leads to mutagenesis. According to the most recent researches, on contrary to the popular opinion, the lower dose of radiation is also detected to be harmful for the human body.
The 400 percent of increase in the cancer in the neighbor community of nuclear plants, the abnormal births as a result of genetic mutations, frequent leukemia diseases were shown as the scientific proof of this. [57]
According to many scientists, the radiation leakage from the nuclear plants is unavoidable. According to the Head of the Nuclear Engineering Department of Bogazici University Prof. Dr. Vural Altin; “The mixing of radiation to the cooling water of reactors is possible. Cooling water collect radiation as it circles around the reactor. This must not leak out. However, there is a risk of accident in all industrial plants. As a result of small accidents, it is inevitable for nuclear reactors to leak radiation and cause health and environmental issues. Thus many examples of this exist. By this time, many leakages had occurred at hundreds of plants including the ones in the most developed countries. “The problem of radioactive wastes is a serious problem encumbers us for the posterity. But, this problem is nearly undiscussed” [58]
A nuclear Plant which has a 1000 MW average power produces about 27 tones of high level, 250 tones of medium level and 450 tones of low level waste. These wastes and depleted fuel roads are kept inside or near the pools of the reactor. The level of radiation is waited to fall off. The risk is high in the Armenian example. Because Armenia has a small geographical area and thus nuclear wastes can not be stored far away from the human settlements. So, people both face the danger of the nuclear plant itself and its wastes.
With the influence of Diaspora, Armenia can not adopt a foreign policy protecting its needs; it became isolated in the region, increased its dependence on Russia and deepened its economic problems. After a severe energy crisis it had to take a decision to re-open Metsamor Nuclear Plant. Apparently, the closing of Metsamor Plant is dependent on Armenia to find new energy resources which is also dependent on a revision of Armenian foreign policy. However, making a transformation on the will of the elements having the impact on the Armenian foreign policy and breaking the chain of dependence which constitutes a deadlock mean replacing all the pieces in the square. Therefore the possibility of closing the Metsamor Plant is low in the forthcoming years. But, this does not constitute an excuse for government agencies and non-governmental organizations to be passive.
Note 1: We regret to say that many media companies and researchers cite from our article failing to give reference.
Note 2: Picture is a bare view from Igdir.
[1] In this article, Metsamor Nuclear Power Plant is examined and the closure demand of the nuclear power plant is based on the technical reasons which are mentioned in the article. The subject of the article is not conducted with the other issues and the article does not contain any anti- nuclear and anti-Armenian topics. It is a product of an environmentalist idea.
[2] Susanna Petrosyan, “Yadernaya Versiya”,
[3] Sinan Ogan, “Metsamor Santrali Türkiye için Tehlike Arzediyor”,, (7 Ağustos 2004).
[4] Armenia Lişilas Deneg EC iz za Atomnoi Stansii, (18 Haziran 2004),
[5] “Evrosayuz Obbsuzdaet Proekt Stoitelstvo Gozoprovod İran_Armenia v Kontekste Zakritiya Armyanskoi AES”,
[6] Gevorg Stamboltsian, “Energy Minister Says New Nuclear Plant ‘An Option’ For Armenia”,, (10 Haziran 2004).
[7], 21 Eylül 2000.
[8] Hatem Cabbarlı, “Bağımsızlık Sonrası Ermenistan’ın Enerji Politikası”, Avrasya Dosyası Enerji Özel, Cilt. 9, No. 1, (Bahar 2003), Ankara, s. 242
[9] John M. Gleason, “The Decision to Reactivate a First-Generation Soviet Nuclear Power Plant: Conceptual and Decision-Analytic Frameworks”,
[10] Timothy Marschall Jones, Space Daily, ( March 6, 2002).
[11] ABD´den Ermenistan´a Metsamor Yardımı, Hürriyet, (May 27, 2004).
[12] Kozlodou NPP was closed by Bulgarian Government because the pressure of EU.
[13] “AB, Ermenistan’daki Metsamor Santralinin Kapatılmasında Israrlı”, AA, (BYEGM Translation), (June 9 2004).
[14] A.B. Yablokov, “Mif o Bezopasnosti Atomnıh Energetiçeskih Ustanavok”, Çentr Ekologiçeskoy Politiki Rossii, Moskova, 2000.
[15] A.B. Yablokov, “Mif …”
[16] “Primerna v 14.30 na armyanskoi Atomnoi Elektrostansii Voznikla Kritiçeskaya Stiuatsiya”,, (June 30, 2002).
[17] For detailed info please look: Energy overview of the Republic of Armenia,
[19] WWER: Pressurized Water Reactor
[21] Vladimir Kuzneçov, “Naskolko Bezopasnı AES Rossii”
[23] John M. Gleason, “The Decision to Reactivate a First-Generation Soviet Nuclear Power Plant: Conceptual and Decision-Analytic Frameworks” ,
[24] For detailed info please look at:
[25] Cabbarlı, “Bağımsızlık …”, page. 241
[26] For detailed info please look at:
[27] John M. Gleason, “The Decision to Reactivate a First-Generation Soviet Nuclear Power Plant: Conceptual and Decision-Analytic Frameworks”,
[28] Nazmi Gül, ‘Şeytanla Dans: Ermenistan ve Nükleer Enerji’, Stratejik Analiz, Number 17, (October 2001), s. 35.
[29] “Azerbaycan Radisasiyanın Goynunda Galabiler”,
[30], (3 Eylül 2002).
[31]Armyanskaya Atomnaya Elektrostansiya Sposobna Prorabotat Eşo Ne Menee 12 Let,, (July 19 2004).
[32]Tigran Ovanisyan, “Armiyanskaya Atomnaya Elektrostansiya za i Protiv”,
[33] A.B. Yablokov, “Mif o Bezopasnosti Atomnıh Energetiçeskih Ustanavok”, Çentr Ekologiçeskoy Politiki Rossii, Moskova, 2000.
[35] Sinan Ogan, “Metsamor Nükleer Santrali Iğdır’ın Sonu Olabilir”,, (July 2004).
[36]John M. Gleason, ‘The Decision to Reactivate a First-Generation Soviet Nuclear Power Plant: Conceptual and Decision-Analytic Frameworks’,
[37] Armeniya Energetiçeskaya Nezavisimost Ne Doljna Bıt Uteryana, 2002, ( October 31 2002).
[38]Karine Danielyan, “Armyanskaya Atomnaya Stansiya, Novaya Zabota Evropa”,
[39] Yeprem Mehranian,“Armenia and Russia Sign Agreement For Restart of the Medzamor Nuclear Power Plant”, Armenian Reporter,, ( April 30, 1994).
[40] Minatom Beret Pod Kontrol AES Metsamor,, (March 12, 2003).
[41] Ara Tadevosian, Armenia Leans East?, ( November 6, 2001),
[43] For detailed info please look at: “Buy, Russia, Buy”,
[44 ]For detailed info, please look at: “Russia Plugs into Armenian Power Business”,
[45] For detailed info please look at: “Armenian Intellectals Have Mixed Reactions to the The Russian-Armenian Equity-for-debt Deal”,
[47] Armenia Lişilas Deneg EC iz za Atomnoi Stansii, (June 18, 2004),
[48] Jeremy Page, “Experts fear Armenian Chernobyl”, The Times, (November 16, 2004).
[49] Daha fazla bilgi için bkz: “The Deadly Connection: Nuclear Power and Nuclear Weapons”,
[50] Hatem Cabbarlı, “Bağımsızlık Sonrası Ermenistan’ın Enerji Politikası”, Avrasya Dosyası Enerji Özel, Cilt. 9, no. 1, (Spring 2003), Ankara, p. 256
[51] SŞA Zakroyut Armyanskogo AES, ARKA, (October11 2003).
[52] Gayine Movsesyan, “Bolşaya İgra”,, (December 2003).
[53] Cabbarlı, “Bağımsızlık …”, p. 245
[54] John M. Gleason, “The Decision to Reactivate a First-Generation Soviet Nuclear Power Plant: Conceptual and Decision-Analytic Frameworks”,
[55] Sinan Ogan, Metsamor Santrali Türkiye için Tehlike Arzediyor, (August 7, 2004),
[56] Hatem Cabbarlı, “Avrupa Birliği Ermenistan’daki Metsamor Nükleer Santralin Kapatılmasını Talep Ediyor”, June 2, 2004.
[57] Hayrettin Kılıç, EMO Dergisi, Number 401, 1977.
[58]Vural Altın, “Nükleer, nasıl bir seçenek?”, Milliyet, (April 13, 1998).

This artcile is taken from TURKSAM –>
Sinan Ogan

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