S.Korea says Armenia poses nuke threat to entire region



The Armenian Metsamor Nuclear Power Plant (NPP) poses a nuclear threat and the international community must assess that fact, Choe Chong-dae, president of Dae-kwang International Co., said in an article in The Korea Times.

Choe Chong-dae, who is also director of the Korean-Swedish Association, said that Hrant Bagratyan, former prime minister of Armenia, stressed that Armenia has created nuclear weaponry. The author said that Bagratyan’s comments raise profound concern.

“Armenian former prime minister`s comments should not be taken lightly, the author said. “Armenian citizens have played an instrumental role in smuggling nuclear and radioactive nuclear waste materials, as reflected in media reports exposing them.”

“Many groups of Armenian citizens associated with the smuggling of radioactive materials were exposed many times in the territories of neighboring countries,” he added. “Furthermore, some Armenian groups even tried to smuggle highly enriched uranium and cesium-137 from Armenia in 2003 and 2010.”

The author added that three Armenian citizens who previously worked at Metsamor NPP were arrested in Georgia in April 2016 for attempting to smuggle and illegally sell nuclear materials.

“One of the detainees was identified as a former associate of the Armenian secret service,” the author said. “This group planned to sell a quantity of uranium-238 costing $200 million to the Middle East.”

“There is great nuclear security risk to the region regarding Metsamor NPP, especially in the context of the occupation of Azerbaijan territory by Armenia,” the article said. “The dubious condition of spent fuel and waste material from Metsamor NPP also raises safety concerns.”

The author said that built in 1976, Metsamor NPP is based on technologies from Chernobyl NPP that ceased operations in 1988 due to a nuclear disaster.

“The operation of the Metsamor NPP in Armenia and the cases of smuggling of nuclear and radioactive materials from this NPP poses a nuclear threat to the entire region, and it also constitutes a serious threat and danger for the Korean investment in the region,” the article said.

The author said that Azerbaijani President Ilham Aliyev delivered a speech at the Nuclear Security Summit in Washington on March 31-April 1, 2016.

“The president’s speech drew great attention from the international community to Metsamor NPP and called on nations to take measures against the threat emanating from this facility,” he added.
“We urge that the International Atomic Energy Agency and global community assess and exercise strict control of the systematic cases of smuggling of radioactive materials arranged by Armenia,” the article said.

“Threats of the use of nuclear weapons by Armenian officials who are obsessed with revenge against Azerbaijan are unnerving,” the author said. “If Armenia and North Korea continue to pursue their nuclear weapon ambitions and smuggling of nuclear materials, we will all face hastening self-destruction.”