UK, Az co-op for seismic research; alarm grows over region’s earthquakes

By | Rachel Brooks 

March 10, 2021 

Above image: “Cooling Towers of Metsamor Nuclear Power Plant – Armenia” by Adam Jones, Ph.D. – Global Photo Archive is licensed under CC BY-SA 2.0. An earthquake occurred in the vicnity of Yerevan in February that increased regional alarm over the impact that a Metsamor leak would have on the region.

The United Kindgom and Azerbaijan, which have had healthy relations throughout the reign of H.M.Queen Elizabeth II, see Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Azerbaijan, continue to cooperate through their academic institutions to research seismic activity in the region.

As seismic activity in the Caucasus continues to be a major risk, Oxford University and Azerbaijan National Academy of Sciences seek to collaborate. Trend News Agency reported that Oxford intends to cooperate with ANAS on seismic research. Trend News obtained photos and screen captures of a meeting between the Oxford project at, screen presentation entitled “Earthquakes without fronteirs” and ANAS, as the two institutions discussed research on developing public policy and guidance for information on earthquakes.   

ANAS likewise cooperates with the universities of Columbia and Michigan out of the United States in this field. 

ANAS’ Vice President, Head of the Department of Earth Sciences, and academic Ibrahim Guliyev weighed in on the collaboration discussion. He noted how in 2020 a memorandum of understanding between ANAS and Oxford University was signed. This paved the way for cooperation between the Azerbaijani regional sciences and the esteemed research institution of the United Kingdom. 

A memorandum of understanding between Oxford and the National Academy of Sciences in Azerbaijan was a natural progression of collaboration with technical research in the United Kingdom. ANAS signed a similar agreement with TransTechCapital LLC on May 18, 2015, to create “an exemplary technology transfer function” for “the efficient commercialization of intellectual property arising in ANAS’ technical institutes.” Read the full memorandum here. 

In 2013, a school of scientific studies of Azerbaijan and Caucasian studies was opened at Oxford University and named for Nizam Ganjavi, see AzerTac news October 2013.

Recent seismic activity in the Caucasus 

Seismic activity in the region of Yerevan, Armenia has left the scientific community deeply concerned. Armenia has been rocked by massive earthquakes in history, with the Spitak quake of 1988 being one of the most infamous. A magnitude 4.7 quake shook Yerevan in February, injuring at least one person, The Jerusalem Post reported. There was no severe structural damage reported. The quake occurred within eight kilometers (five miles) of Yerevan. 

Quakes in the region of Metsamor cause alarm in the scientific community 

While no structural damage occurred in the February quake, the scientific community of the region has been placed on high alert. The aging Metsamor nuclear plant is within 45.8 kilometers (about 28 miles) of Yerevan. The age and decay of the Metsamor plant, coupled with the memory of the previous devastation, has caused serious alarm not only for Armenia but for the region within the immediate impact zone of a leak from Metsamor. 

 On March 8, BNE Intelligence News reported that the atomic scientists’ bulletin had called on Armenia to close the volatile nuclear plant in the wake of recent seismic activity. The article was published in the Bulletin by Brenda Schaffer, a well-renowned expert on nuclear energy in the region. The Bulletin piece warned that Metsamor Unit 2 retained its spent nuclear fuel on-site. 

The Bulletin called upon the EU to persuade Armenia to close the dangerous plant, and to opt for post-war construction.