Photo: IAEA

Energy minister: Hungary could weigh purchase of small modular reactor in 2029-2030

Hungary could consider the purchase of one or more small modular reactors (SMR), a class of nuclear reactor that is smaller than conventional ones and can be remotely produced, in 2029-2030, the minister of energy affairs said in an interview published on business news website on Monday.

An SMR could be procured by Hungary in 2029-2030 “at the earliest”, Csaba Lantos said. The SMR would probably be set up in the east of the country, but other locations are also being considered, he added.

He acknowledged that Hungary depends on imports for 76 percent of its energy supply, above the EU average of 71 percent, but said the government had done much to establish interconnectors between networks of neighbouring countries.

Hungary has to expand its sources of supply, but it cannot give up imports from Russia “from one day to the next”, the minister said.

Lantos said he would like to see the lifespans of all four blocks at the Paks nuclear power plant extended for another 20 years, adding that the matter hinges on technical rather than political issues.

The four existing blocks at Paks are set to end their runs between 2032 and 2037. When two additional blocks are completed at the plant, capacity of Paks will reach 4,400 megawatts.

Hungary’s solar capacity is expected to reach 10-12 gigawatts by 2030, he said.

Asked when additional wind plants could be built in Hungary, he said the matter of the scale and location of wind turbines is one of debate with the EU. “We don’t want Hungary to be turned into an industrial landscape,” he added.

He said lignite-fueled blocks at the Matra power plant, in northern Hungary, would continue to operate “as long as necessary”, until three new gas-fueled blocks are built.

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