The Paks nuclear power plant – Photo: OAH

Palkovics: Government committed to extending Paks nuclear plant’s lifespan

Hungary's government is committed to extending the lifespan of the Paks nuclear power plant, Laszlo Palkovics, the minister of technology and industry, said in Paks, in central Hungary, on Friday.

Addressing a press conference after talks with the CEO of MVM Paksi Atomeromu, the plant’s operator, Palkovics said all conditions were in place to extend the plant’s lifespan, adding that its lifespan could be extended by between 10 and 20 years.

The four blocks at Paks, each with a nominal capacity of 500MW, were built between 1982 and 1987. Their 30-year lifespans were extended by 20 years between 2012 and 2017.

In addition to extending the plant’s lifespan, the government is also planning upgrades to increase the plant’s efficiency, as well as new energy storage solutions, Palkovics said.

If the plant has 20 more years left in it during which it can operate safely at high efficiency, then its lifespan should be extended, the minister said.

“We don’t see any technical issues that would have a significant effect on the extension of the plant’s lifespan,” he said, adding he was hopeful that Hungary could renegotiate the conditions of the extension in Brussels.

Palkovics said a technical, economic, legal and training working group will be set up to make preparations of the extension of the plant’s lifespan. The minister said he had asked the operator’s CEO to have the documentation needed to launch the project ready within two weeks so that it could go before the government.

“The process will be fully transparent; we want to carry out every part of the project with full publicity,” Palkovics said.

Meanwhile, he noted that the European Green Deal required Hungary to achieve carbon neutrality by 2050, which meant investing in electrical energy. Hungary is Europe’s most attractive investment destination, with an investment rate of 29 percent of GDP, Palkovics said.

He also said that Hungary’s photovoltaic capacity would increase from the current 6GW to 12-14GW by 2030.

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