Szijjarto: EC approves Paks upgrade contract changes

The European Commission has approved the modifications to the contracts of the expansion of Hungary's Paks nuclear power plant, allowing for the project to be speeded up, Peter Szijjarto, the minister of foreign affairs and trade, said on Thursday.

The changes to the contracts and the European Union’s approval will make it possible for the plant’s new blocks to begin operating by the very beginning of the next decade, with the project applying the strictest nuclear regulations, Szijjarto said on Facebook.

The Paks project guarantees the long-term security of Hungary’s energy supply, the minister said.

“The new Paks investment is the guarantee that we can preserve the achievements of the price caps on utility bills in the long run and sustain Europe’s lowest prices for the Hungarian people,” Szijjarto said.

He said the recent months had proven that that countries that can produce as much of their own energy as possible will be the most secure in the coming period.

Hungary’s natural resources and geographical position make nuclear energy the most suitable to protect the country from the uncertainties of the international markets, he said. This makes it important for the new blocks to be completed as soon as possible, he added.

Szijjarto noted that because the project’s construction and financing contracts were signed nine years ago, and the legal, technical and physical circumstances had all changed since then, it was necessary to modify the contracts with a view to speeding up the project and ensuring Hungary’s independence from the international energy markets.

He noted that the Hungarian government reached an agreement with the Russian government and Rosatom in April on the changes to the contracts, adding that these could only enter into force after being approved by the EU.

“Hungary submitted the draft modifications to the European Commission, which gave us the green light yesterday,” Szijjarto said.

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