Opposition: Paks upgrade ‘untenable’

Representatives of the united opposition said on Tuesday that the upgrade of the nuclear plant in Paks has become "untenable" because it would expose Hungary to Russian influence.

LMP’s Peter Ungar told an online press conference that the upgrade was a security risk because the construction was in the hands of “Russians who have also hacked the servers of the foreign ministry”. Lack of transparency also raises the threat of corruption, and the project could also lead to Hungary’s diplomatic isolation, he said. Continuing the investment would also mean that Hungary “does not tread the green path”, he said.

Rebeka Szabo (Parbeszed), a candidate of the united opposition for the April 3 general election, called the upgrade a “total failure”. The government agreed on the upgrade with Russia without allowing competition, and the construction has barely started, she said.

Contrary to the original plans, Russia would not handle used fuel rods, she said. Meanwhile, she insisted that Prime Minister Viktor Orban “intentionally dialled down” projects on sustainable energy, and tied “the country’s entire energy policy to this risky project”.

Bernadett Szel, another opposition for the election, said the upgrade was a “corruption scheme that had nothing to do with nuclear energy.” She insisted that Janos Suli, the minister without portfolio responsible for the upgrade, did not have the impact studies and risk assessments on the project, “so no one knows why the government started it in the first place.”

Szel said that “after the change of government,” the energy efficiency of residential buildings would have a priority. The opposition plans to renovate 100,000 dwellings a year, she said. This would also help Hungary “sever the umbilical chord to gas”, another factor in the country’s dependence of Russia, she said.

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