Paks expansion is in construction phase

The expansion of the Paks nuclear power plant has gone beyond paperwork and the construction phase is well under way, Peter Szijjarto, the foreign affairs and trade minister said on Tuesday at the signing of the construction timetable for the upcoming years.

In the 2030s the new blocks can start producing electricity, he told a joint press conference held with Alexei Likhachev, head of Russian nuclear energy company Rosatom, hailing construction of the new reactors.

“Today we signed the schedule for the next few years … and we will be able to connect the new nuclear power plant to the grid at the start of the next decade,” Szijjarto said.

Paks is now the largest nuclear project in Europe with a construction permit, he noted. Besides the Russian main contractor, sub-contractors include several American, German, French, Swedish, Austrian companies, as well as a large number of Hungarian companies, he noted.

Soil excavation has taken place to a depth of five meters under each block, and the next stage is reaching a depth of 23 meters, he said, adding that 60 buildings will be built in the next six months.

Thanks to the investment, Hungary will remain among twenty countries in the world whose economies grow while they reduce harmful emissions, he said, explaining that the new blocks will mean avoiding the emission of 17 million tonnes of carbon dioxide each year.

Rosatom said in a statement that Russia has begun work on equipment for the upgrade project that takes longer to manufacture, such as the reactor pressure vessel, the zone melt trap system and the reactors and their installations.

The project is constantly adding staff, Rosatom said, adding that 800-900 people are expected to be working at the construction site by the end of the year, and around 2,000 by the end of 2024. Around 10,000-13,000 people will be working at the site at the peak of the construction phase, the statement said.

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