Hungarian Prime Minister, Rosatom CEO discuss Paks-2 NPP project — official

BUDAPEST:  Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor Orban and head of Russian nuclear corporation Rosatom Alexey Likhachev discussed the construction...


BUDAPEST:  Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor Orban and head of Russian nuclear corporation Rosatom Alexey Likhachev discussed the construction of the Paks-2 nuclear power plant, Havasi Bertalan, press secretary for the head of the government, said on Monday.

Their meeting took place at the residence of the Hungarian prime minister - the former Carmelite monastery in Budapest.

"The meeting was also attended by Hungarian Minister of Foreign Affairs [and Foreign Economic Relations] Peter Szijjarto and First Deputy Director General of Rosatom Kirill Komarov," Havasi said as quoted by the MIT news agency.

The spokesman noted that before the meeting with Orban, Likhachev held talks with Szijjarto. According to Havasi, following the meeting, the minister said that "further important preparatory work for the expansion of the Paks nuclear power plant will soon begin and that the changes made to the agreements [on this project] will ensure rapid progress while fully complying with nuclear safety rules."

As a source in Budapest’s diplomatic circles told TASS, "personal attention from the Prime Minister should contribute to the speedy implementation of this project."

Transition to a new stage

Szijjarto said after negotiations with Likhachev that the construction of the Paks-2 nuclear power plant in Hungary should move to the construction stage of two new power units.

"Soon, further large-scale pre-construction work will begin on Paks, which is extremely important for the safe operation of the nuclear power plant and is a prerequisite for creating a reliable foundation for the facility. This work will be carried out in July," he said in a video statement on Facebook (banned in Russia, owned by Meta Corporation, recognized as extremist in Russia).

Szijjarto explained that this means the construction of the foundation for the fifth power unit of the nuclear power plant. He added that the so-called pouring of the first concrete could begin soon.

"The first concrete is a strategically important moment in the implementation of investments in the Paks-2 project," Szijjarto noted.

He said that at the same time, it is planned to start excavation to make a pit for the foundation of the sixth power unit.

Amendments to documents

The Minister also recalled that on May 24, the European Commission gave the green light to the amendments made by Hungary and Russia to the agreements on the Paks-2 nuclear power plant, and this will allow the construction of two nuclear reactors as part of a project by Rosatom to continue. Changes in the documents were agreed to on April 11 at a meeting between Likhachev and Szijjarto in Moscow. As the head of the Hungarian Foreign Ministry noted then, they were needed due to the fact that the initial agreements were concluded in 2014 and since then "vital and technological changes" have taken place.

"Thanks to these contract amendments, we can speed up the project, eliminate red tape and clarify nuclear safety rules that are much stricter than European standards and ensure that a safe plant will be built at Paks," Szijjarto said after meeting with Likhachev in Budapest.

"Both Rosatom and the Hungarian government are committed to having the new units of the Paks nuclear power plant in operation by the beginning of the next decade and we can guarantee that low electricity prices in Hungary will be maintained in the long term," the minister said.

Sanctions and obstacles

Szijjarto also said that Hungary is demanding that other countries stop trying to interfere with the construction of the Paks-2 nuclear power plant.

"Up to now, we have managed to ensure that the nuclear industry is not subject to any sanctions, but we know that sanctions exist not only in written form, but also in unwritten form," the minister said.

He recalled that some countries continue to try to block the Paks-2 project. Hungary regards their actions as "an attack on its sovereignty" and the creation of "obstacles for investment in its energy security."

"Therefore, we call on international actors to stop their efforts to slow down or block the Paks-2 project, since they will not be effective, and we cannot accept them jeopardizing the safety of our energy supply," the Foreign Minister stressed.

Earlier, the Hungarian government stated that it would not allow the introduction of EU sanctions against enterprises and entities from Russia’s nuclear energy sector. Budapest ensured that they were not included in the draft of the 11th EU sanctions package prepared by the European Commission. However, Szijjarto noted that the German government still refuses to issue a license to the German company Siemens Energy, which is to supply, together with French partners, an automatic control system for the Paks-2 nuclear power plant.

About Paks 2 project

The Paks NPP, which was built with Soviet technologies, and which uses Russian nuclear fuel, provides half of all generated and one third of consumed electricity in Hungary. At present, four power units with VVER-440 reactors operate at the station built about 100 kilometers south of Budapest on the banks of the Danube. Currently, preparations are underway for the construction of two new power units designed by Rosatom. At the same time, preparations are underway for the construction of facilities as part of the second stage of the Rosatom project. Specifically, those new units are called Paks-2. The Hungarian government expects that after two new VVER-1200 nuclear reactors are commissioned, the plant's capacity will increase from its current levels of 2,000 MW to 4,400 MW.

As Szijjarto said earlier, Moscow confirmed it was ready to finance this project, which is estimated at 12.5 billion euros and which from the very beginning was supposed to be 80% funded by a Russian loan.

In October 2021, JSC Rusatom - Automated Control Systems (RASU, a subsidiary of Rosatom) and the Franco-German consortium Framatome SAS-Siemens AG signed an agreement in Moscow on the manufacture and commissioning of automated process control systems for two new power units of the Paks NPP. Earlier, as part of this project, a contract was signed for the manufacture of turbines by GE Hungary Kft, which is a Hungarian subsidiary of US company General Electric. With this in mind, the withdrawal of nuclear energy from EU sanctions is of particular importance for the Paks-2 project.


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Local Glob: Hungarian Prime Minister, Rosatom CEO discuss Paks-2 NPP project — official
Hungarian Prime Minister, Rosatom CEO discuss Paks-2 NPP project — official
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