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Nuclear Safety Cooperation

on-site assistance Armenia NPP

All Countries
Benefitting Zone
€ 3,980,781.64
EU Contribution
Contracted in 1997
Technical Assistance to the Commonwealth of Independent States


Type of activity

On Site Assistance



Contracting authority

European Commission

Method of Procurement

Direct Agreement & AV DA


20/05/1997 - 20/04/2001


Armenian NPP



Project / Budget year

WW9608 Nuclear Safety 1996 / 1996


The Armenian Nuclear Power Plant (ANPP) consists of two units of the WWER/440/270 model Soviet type reactor that is a modified version of the WWER/440/230 in view of special seismic design considerations. Unit 1 started its commercial operation in 1976 and Unit 2 in 1980. Both units were shut down shortly after the 1988 Spitak earthquake. Re-commissioning works were performed from 1993 to 1995 and in November 1995 Unit 2 restarted operation, and has been operational since then.
The ANPP design is similar to other WWER/440/230 NPPs and has the same generic safety issues and inherent safety features as other plants of this type. In addition, this plant has specific problems, some of which were resolved during the re-commissioning phase while others were either resolved since then or are still in the evaluation and upgrading processes.

In the frame of the 1996 TACIS Nuclear safety Programme, the Commission of the European Communities allocated budget so that to assist Armenia NPP in addressing the most urgent design, operational and maintenance issues that were closely linked with the ANPP Unit 2 restarted operation (1995).

In this context, an exploratory mission has been carried out by experts provided by ENEL, RWE Energie, and TRACTABEL. A mission objective was to conduct a plant walk down, meet the Armenian organizations involved in operation and discuss with them the main technical aspects related to safety improvement of ANPP. This exploratory mission was held during 13-23 October 1996 and discussed the following topics:

  • 1. Presentation of TACIS specific projects to be implemented
  • 2. Analysis of safety measures requested by EBRD funded assistance programme
  • 3. Definition of the regulatory framework in which the projects have to be developed, with particular focus on nuclear liability issue, the licensing aspects and the code and standards to be followed in the design implementation
  • 4. Collection of necessary information for detailed definition of the general On-site assistance programme, in particular a time schedule for implementation of each specific project
  • 5. Identification and definition of interfaces between plant staff and Western utilities, roles and responsibilities for each project
  • 6. Verification of availability of the relevant plant documentation and initial data collection of the most important data
  • 7. Evaluation of the plant status with particular attention to system, structures and components to be subject of improvement
  • 8. possible transfer of equipment and spare parts from Greifswald NPP
  • 9. Examination of logistical aspect, i.e. office accommodation on site, interpretation and translation services, office and computer equipment, etc.

A Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) was signed between the EC, ANPP and Ministry, Department of Atomic Energy. This MoU lists safety improvement projects that were agreed during and which involve both the safety culture improvement and equipment supply projects. In this framework a two year General On-site assistance programme to ANPP Project A1.01/96 was formally established so that to assist the ANPP in implementing general OSA as well as specific safety improvement projects.


The On-site assistance (OSA) programme is implemented by EU companies or consortia with experience of NPP operation in the EU that are contracted by the EC to work on site at a nuclear power plant of the Beneficiary country. The aim of OSA is to provide the Beneficiary nuclear power plant with support to different areas i.e. safety culture, quality assurance, maintenance, management and training, etc. and to upgrade the safety of the plant through the supply of equipment. The OSA team maintains a site presence and assists the plant management/operation in various safety aspects, such as the safety culture, safe operation and maintenance. In addition, the OSA Team assists the EC, End User and suppliers implementing the supply projects that deal with replacement of the old equipment which does not meet safety requirements or installation of the new equipment based on its safety importance.
The aim of the On-Site Assistance programme at Armenia NPP (ANPP) was to combine the experience of the OSA Consultant with the experience and needs of the Nuclear Power Plant (NPP) operator in order to:

  1. improve the operational safety of the Armenia NPP through the transfer of know-how and operational best practice;
  2. identify, prepare and implement safety related specific projects which include the tendering and procurement of equipment required to improve the safety of the power plant.


The activities to be implemented were organized under two general areas:

  • General Operational Assistance activities
  • Implementation of specific projects

1) General on-site assistance activities involved implementation of the following projects:

  • Review and improvement of normal and emergency operating procedures. This task resulted in elaboration and /or improvement of following documents:
    • a. Alarm sheets for most important Main Control Room alarms
    • b. Seven new normal operating procedures and improvement of six existing
    • c. Plant operating limits and conditions in a way to reorganize the document to a similar format as it is used at Western NPPs
  • Improvement of operating experience review programme
  • Analysis of I & C weaknesses, in particular identification and prioritization of the most urgent corrective measures to be implemented.
  • Analysis of internal hazards and common cause failures
  • Elaboration and establishment of the Quality assurance programme
  • Enhancement of personnel safety culture, especially organizing number of training courses for ANPP management, operation and maintenance personnel
  • Improvement of office facilities, in particular procurement of office equipment, a LAN network, printers and copiers, etc.
  • Licensing activities, in particular activities following 2+2 approach according to process set up for Armenia and followed for two equipment supply projects such as replacement of pressurizer and steam generator safety valves. A licensing report was prepared for Armenian Safety authority to demonstrate that nuclear safety regulation and requirements have been satisfied.

2) Management of the implementation of specific equipment supply projects from the TACIS 96 programme

  • A1.01/96A - Greifswald Main Generator Breakers installation
  • A1.01/96 B - Medium Voltage and Low Voltage Circuit Breakers replacement
  • A1.01/96 E - I & C Basic Engineering and Equipment Procurement involved a replacement of Steam generator water level measurement
  • A1.01/96 F – Leak detection system between primary and secondary loop
  • A1.01 96 G1 – Replacement of pressurizer safety valves
  • A1.01/96G2 - Replacement of steam generator safety valves
  • A1.01/96 H – Primary Circuit Integrity verification
  • A1.01/96 I – Seismic hazard analysis
  • A1.01/96 J – A confinement leak tightness Improvement
  • A1.01/96 K – Operator Training Centre Improvement

Above mentioned specific equipment supply projects were agreed in MoU between the European Commission and Armenia Ministry of Energy in October 1996, and constituted a near term safety improvements, i.e. they addressed the most urgent issues identified at ANPP after its restart. As it was shown later, this near term safety improvement programme was too ambitious to be implemented at ANPP within two years. Remaining projects from TACIS 96 that were not fully implemented during OSA 96 programme were transferred to TACIS 97, some of these even to TACIS 2000 OSA contract.