“According to preliminary estimates, the new atomic block will cost approximately $5 billion,” Movsisian said. “A more precise figure will emerge after the completion of design works.”

Movsisian said, “In my opinion, the construction work will start at the end of next year or at the beginning of 2011.”

Last week, the Armenian government has announced Worley Parsons, an Australian engineering company, as the winner of an international tender for the right to manage the ambitious project. The two sides are due to hold negotiations and sign a related contract soon.

“The next step will be to design the future block, after which we will enlist and select potential investors,” said Movsisian. “That will be followed by the design work and the construction process itself.” The company that will carry out the construction will be chosen in a separate tender, Movsisian said.