Armenia is planning to close down its nuclear power station temporarily in 2004 and the search for substitute power has begun. Aleksandr Kocharyan from the Armenian Energy Ministry said that the it was positive about exploiting hydro power resources.

Three small hydro power stations are already in operation and a project to construct a hydro cascade by adding plants at Mergri, Shurnukh and Lori-Berd is in the exploratory stage.

Technical and economic feasibility studies for the Mergri plant, which will be built this year on the Araxes river, have already been carried out. The overall cost of the plant is estimated at US$104M and will be repaid in 10 years. It is set to generate 410kWh of electricity annually.

The Shurnukh plant will generate 300M kWh of electricity annually and the Lori-Berd plant will generate 200M kWh of electricity each year.