Szijjarto: Paks upgrade progressing on schedule

The upgrade of the Paks nuclear plant in central Hungary is progressing on schedule, the minister of foreign affairs and trade said on Tuesday, adding that the project would ensure Hungary's energy policy, preserve the utility cut scheme and further boost environmental protection.

Speaking on the sidelines of a cabinet meeting in Sopronbanfalva, in north-west Hungary, Peter Szijjarto said he had recently talked to Alexey Likhachev, the CEO of Russian Rosatom tasked with the upgrade.

Szijjarto said the talks had been one of a series of regular consultations to review the progress of the project.

The works are proceeding according to plan, with soil stabilising works currently under way, he said. “The first concrete pour, a watershed moment in the construction of a nuclear plant, is expected to happen by the end of the year,” he said.

Meanwhile, the Hungarian Atomic Energy Authority had green-lighted the current phase of the construction, and the procurement of further permits is under way, he added.

Recent amendments to the nuclear energy act had cut the red tape around the investment, significantly easing the paperwork while adhering to all safety requirements, he added.

The upgrade will double Hungary’s nuclear capacity, he said, “and energy security is a large component of sovereignty.”

Szijjarto said the past few years had shown that energy independence was key to a country’s sovereignty. The two new reactor blocks would raise nuclear energy’s share in Hungary’s electricity supplies to 70 percent, he said. Along with planned solar capacity increases, Hungary would be close to self-sufficiency, he said.

Imports of natural gas were expected to be reduced by 3-3.5 billion cubic meters a year, he said. Carbon dioxide emissions are expected to fall by up to 17 million tonnes, he added.

Szijjarto said that Likhachev was expected in Hungary in the near future, “to review the progress and connected legal issues.”

Leave a Reply