Szijjarto discusses Paks upgrade with Rosatom chief

Additional ground work will soon begin to prepare the site for the expansion of Hungary's Paks nuclear power plant, Foreign Minister Peter Szijjarto said after talks with Alexey Likhachev, chief executive of Rosatom, on Monday.

Szijjarto welcomed the European Commission’s approval of the modifications to the contracts of the plant’s expansion which he said would make it possible to speed up the construction of the two new blocks with the project applying the strictest nuclear safety regulations, according to a foreign ministry statement.

The foreign minister noted that work to thoroughly prepare the site for ensuring a safe operation of the new blocks will begin in early July.

Szijjarto said both he and the Rosatom chief stated their commitment towards ensuring that the two new blocks should be put into operation at the beginning of the next decade.

“We have so far managed to achieve that no sanctions are in place on the nuclear energy sector, we, at the same time know exactly that sanctions do exist not only in written but in an unwritten form,” he said. “Several foreign actors are keen to either bloc or slow down the expansion project ” which Szijjarto said constituted “an attack against the sovereignty of a state”.

“We therefore ask, urge those international actors to stop slowing down or blocking the Paks project because those will on the one hand fail, and, on the other hand, we cannot accept their jeopardising the safety of our energy supplies,” the foreign minister said.

Szijjarto said with the completion of the Paks II project, Hungary’s nuclear energy capacity will go up from 2,000 MW to 4,400 MW, enough to meet 75 percent of domestic electricity needs, reducing Hungary’s dependence on international energy markets. He noted the project’s environmental aspect which would allow “cutting carbon dioxide emissions by 17 million tonnes per year”.

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