Under an intergovernmental agreement signed in Moscow yesterday, Russia has extended a US$20.6 million credit to Armenia to support the operation of the Medzamor nuclear power plant in 1999-2000. Armenia will use the credit to buy nuclear fuel and equipment components from Russian firms and to employ Russian specialists at Medzamor. The credit is repayable from 2003 to 2008 at the LIBOR interest rate plus one percent. Moscow delivered a consignment of nuclear fuel for Medzamor last week in order to ensure the plant’s operation in winter.
The agreement signed yesterday revises and supersedes one signed in August 1997 for a credit of 249 million rubles (some US$12.4 million). That agreement remained largely unfulfilled due to Russia’s financial difficulties. Russia holds a 15 percent share of Medzamor’s capital. Only one of the plant’s two power blocks is operational, and is due to be restarted this month following a three-month shutdown for maintenance. The two reactors are of the Soviet-era VVER-440 type, generally considered obsolete and posing potential safety risks. An international panel of experts, however, recently pronounced the plant safe (Itar-Tass, Reuters, December 16).
IMF CREDIT AIMS TO TIDE KAZAKHSTAN OVER THE FINANCIAL CRISIS.