NewsGroundbreaking at Paks. Hungary Advances Nuclear Ambition with Russian Support

Groundbreaking at Paks. Hungary Advances Nuclear Ambition with Russian Support

Orban's government openly says that it will block any attempts to impose EU sanctions on the nuclear sector.
Orban's government openly says that it will block any attempts to impose EU sanctions on the nuclear sector.
Images source: © East News | LUDOVIC MARIN

6:43 AM EDT, April 27, 2024

In St. Petersburg, work has commenced on constructing a reactor tank for the new units of the nuclear power plant in Paks, as announced by Hungarian Foreign Minister Peter Szijjarto on Friday.
The minister, who frequently updates on the nuclear power plant expansion in Central Hungary, called this development a "milestone." Szijjarto mentioned that the project is advancing as scheduled, with the new units anticipated to be operational and connected to the grid at the start of the next decade.

Budapest views the expansion of the Paks power plant as a significant boost to the country's energy independence. Given its lack of sea access, Hungary relies heavily on imported energy resources, predominantly from Russia.

Szijjarto has engaged in numerous discussions with Alexey Likhachev, the head of Rosatom, following Russia's invasion of Ukraine. The government led by Orban has clearly expressed its intention to veto any efforts by the EU to impose sanctions on the nuclear sector.

The project also sees participation from Western companies, including the French Framatome and German Siemens. In an interview with the Portfolio website, Gergely Jakli, the leader of Paks II company overseeing the power plant expansion, mentioned the possibility of Chinese involvement in the future.

Hungary's energy mix, a key project

The expansion of the Paks nuclear power plant stands as a pivotal energy initiative by Viktor Orban's administration. Entrusted to Rosatom in early 2014, the project involves the construction of two new units, each with a capacity of about 1,285 MW. The total investment is estimated at around 12 billion euros, with financing predominantly through a Russian loan covering 80% of the costs.

The Budapest government aims to anchor its energy strategy on affordable nuclear power, deeming the Paks expansion a critical endeavour. The assignment of constructing two new units, each with a capacity of approximately 1,285 MW, to the Russian state corporation highlights the project's importance initiated in early 2014.

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