Metsamor, Nagorno-Karabakh, nuclear power station, gas pipeline, nuclear power plant
Armenia traditionally depended on natural gas imported from Azerbaijan to fuel its electricity-generating facilities. Azerbaijan cut gas deliveries in 1989 in response to Armenia’s support of separatist fighters in Nagorno-Karabakh, contributing substantially to Armenia’s economic troubles. For a time the country depended almost exclusively on hydroelectric facilities to produce its power—essentially the country’s only indigenous source of energy. However, the aging hydroelectric facilities were insufficient to meet the country’s needs. In desperation, Armenian officials restarted in 1995 the nuclear power plant at Metsamor, the only nuclear power station in the Transcaucasia region. The plant had been shut down because of seismic and safety fears after northern Armenia suffered a severe earthquake in 1988. In May 1988 the Armenian and Iranian governments signed an agreement under which Iran was to supply Armenia with natural gas for 20 years. The deal required construction of a gas pipeline between the two countries.
In 1999 thermal plants fueled by natural gas produced 46 percent of Armenia’s electricity. Most of the gas was imported from Turkmenistan. Some 23 percent of electricity came from hydroelectric facilities, and Armenia’s single nuclear plant produced 31 percent of all power generated.
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