10:40 pm | June 22, 2010 | Economy

RA Minister of Energy and Natural Resources Armen Movsisyan assures
that it is still unclear whether there is uranium in Syunik province
or not. According to him, that is why NGOs "have gotten ahead of what
is actually being done."

Environmentalists sound the alarm that the discovery of possible
uranium resources and their exploitation will turn into a great evil
from the angles of nature protection and healthcare.

During a press conference, Minister Movsisyan tried to mitigate the
concerns, mentioning that studies are still underway and only after
technological and environmental experiments will there be permission
for exploitation.

Studies will continue for the next two years. The "Armenian-Russian
Mining Organization" is in charge of searching and studying the
potential uranium resources in Syunik province, while the RA Ministry
of Energy and Natural Resources will ensure the project's security.

The Minister considered it wrong to say that there is officially 30,000
tons of uranium in Armenia. "Have I ever told you anything wrong? I'm
telling you again-there were only developments of uranium after the
studies conducted in the Soviet era, but there were no resources
confirmed as ores. If there was uranium, why would we study again?"

For that reason, he considered the clamor raised by environmental
NGOs as populist. "I'm personally from Kapan and am well aware of the
issues. That issue is more painful for me than anyone, but it's one
thing to exploit uranium correctly and another thing to bring that
issue to the right field. How many environmentalists do you know that
are from Syunik province when they talk about the province's issues?"

As far as the announcements according to which underground waters
will receive the contagion after exploitation are concerned, Armen
Movsisyan stated: "There is no underground water where they are
conducting studies on uranium. The researchers will never reach the
water no matter how deep they dig. They dig up to 2,000 meters, but
there is no water there. Those waters flow at the lowest point and go."

From: A. Papazian