The Paks nuclear power plant – Photo: OAH

Szijjarto: Nuclear energy ‘exempt from ideological, emotional debates’

The nuclear energy sector may remain relatively exempt from "overly ideological, emotional debates, and the sector is an intact sliver of East-West cooperation," Foreign Minister Peter Szijjarto said in Washington, DC, on Wednesday.

Speaking ahead of a ministerial meeting of the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA), Szijjarto said the countries able to generate the energy they consume will be positioned best to weather the energy crisis caused by the Russia-Ukraine war and “botched sanctions”. Hungary’s best chance to do so is using nuclear energy, by a much-needed upgrade of the Pals nuclear plant, which will boost its performance to 4,400 MW from the current 2,000 MW, he said.

Szijjarto insisted that Hungary had fought to eliminate “discrimination” against nuclear energy in the EU in recent years. As a result, the Paks investment will not be restricted “in any way”, he said.

The upgrade is a “truly international” project, with Russian Rosatom at the helm, and suppliers such as the US’s General Electric, French Framatome and German Siemens, he added.

Nuclear energy is cheap, safe and environment-friendly, and the two new blocks in Paks are expected to prevent the emission of 17 million tonnes of carbon dioxide every year, he said.

“Anyone with any sense can see today that without nuclear energy, there will be no energy security or affordable prices in Europe, and Europe won’t be able to fulfil its green goals,” he said.

Szijjarto is scheduled to meet the chief executives of General Electric later in the day.

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