One of the gravest risks that the Metsamor Nuclear Power Plant presents to the people of the region is the potential for the production of nuclear arms. With the Armenian government refusing to shut it down for years on the pretext of not being able to produce enough power, Metsamor gives cause for concern over the smuggling of nuclear materials. Some have claimed that the Armenian government is not only using Metsamor for power production but also for serious work on nuclear arms technology. Due to the reality that terrorism has obtained a global aspect and the potential for terrorist organizations obtaining nuclear arms, it is unfortunate that Armenia's ancient Metsamor Plant provides grounds for the acquisition of radioactive materials by terrorist organizations.
These concerns are more prevalent when one considers efforts by Daish and similar organizations that seek to obtain enriched uranium. In April 2016, smugglers of Armenian origin were caught trying to sell uranium worth $238 million.
It has also been proven that Azerbaijani territory under Armenian occupation has been used to store and transport nuclear materials. According to the latest data, there are 29 radiation centers that provide raw materials for Metsamor in the occupied territories.
President Ilham Aliyev of Azerbaijan drew attention to the threat of Metsamor at a speech delivered at the World Humanitarian Congress in Istanbul last April and emphasized the necessity of relevant organizations investigating nuclear threats voiced by Armenian officials and claims that the country has a dirty bomb.
A threat to Turkey
The Metsamor Nuclear Power Plant continues to present a threat to Turkey. Studies of the impact of a potential nuclear leak at Metsamor predict that tens of thousands of people in eastern Anatolia, especially in the provinces of Iğdır, Kars and Ardahan, would be affected. That the plant is located only 16 kilometers from the border with Turkey is in itself a clear indicator of the level of danger. Metsamor also poses a major radioactive threat to the eastern provinces of Turkey because it uses antiquated technology and is located on the eastern Anatolian fault line. Experts consider it a serious possibility that all of eastern and southeastern Turkey could be affected as a result of a potential earthquake or major nuclear leak at the plant.
Despite all obstacles in its way, Azerbaijan continues to take international initiatives to draw attention to the Metsamor threat. The most recent of these initiatives was undertaken June 2, 2016, when representatives of NGOs from the wider region (Azerbaijan, Turkey, Israel, Ukraine, Iran, Belarus, Kazakhstan, Russia, Georgia) met to discuss the issue. The meeting was also attended by an Armenian representative who criticized the nonchalant attitude of his country, indicating the indifferent attitude of Armenian officials who have completely turned away from all proposed solutions for ending the operation of Metsamor. A joint decision taken at the meeting resulted in the founding of the "Stop Metsamor Coalition" to draw the international community's attention to the Metsamor threat.
The imminent danger posed by Metsamor coupled with the unconstructive attitude of Armenia indicates a similarity to Armenia`s policy of occupying Nagorno-Karabakh and the seven regions surrounding it.
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