Illustration - Photo: IAEA

Hungary, Japan sign nuclear cooperation pact

Hungary and Japan have signed an agreement on cooperation on nuclear energy, including the technological development of small modular reactors, the minister of foreign affairs and trade said in Tokyo on Tuesday.
21. May 2024 18:47

According to a ministry statement, Peter Szijjarto met Japan’s ministers of economy, infrastructure and foreign affairs, before announcing that the two countries have signed a cooperation agreement on nuclear energy based on their shared intention to increase the role of nuclear energy and expand their nuclear capacities.

Szijjarto said nuclear energy was “the safest, cheapest, most reliable and most eco-friendly method of producing electricity in large quantity, … which would be critical to economic growth in the coming period”.

He said Hungary and Japan’s agreement on cooperating on extending the lifespans of their nuclear plants’ blocks was an important step forward, adding that preparations for this were already under way in the case of the reactors that operate at Hungary’s Paks plant.

Szijjarto said this was also vital for preserving competitiveness as well as keeping household energy prices low in Hungary.

The two countries will also cooperate on the technological development of small modular reactors, he said, adding that this could bring about “revolutionary change” in “the world’s energy industry”.

He said if the technologies used to build and connect such small nuclear reactors to the network could be made permanent, Hungary would have a vested interest in their application.

Meanwhile, he said that Hungary and Japan also signed a cooperation agreement on water management aimed at enabling the sector’s advanced Hungarian players to enter the Japanese market and allowing Hungary to benefit from Japan’s experience in the field.

“Eco-friendly water management that facilitates the effective operation of the economy and specifically agriculture is a fundamental goal for both Japan and Hungary,” Szijjarto said. “And the technologies that are crucial to this field will be a key part of our cooperation.”

Concerning his talks with the executives of Japanese businesses investing in Hungary, Szijjarto welcomed that Hungarian exports to Japan reached a record one billion US dollars last year, and that Japanese companies kept investing in Hungary.

Japanese companies form the tenth largest investor community in Hungary, employing around 50,000 people, he said, adding that at his talks, business executives expressed their intention to invest 150 million-200 million euros in the automotive, electronics and food industries.

Meanwhile, Szijjarto said Hungary has decided to open a consulate in Osaka, which will host the World Expo in 2025. Hungary will bring a pavilion to the expo that is worthy of the event and showcases the country’s economic, tourism and cultural appeal, the minister said.

“Today’s meetings reaffirmed that Hungary and Japan attach strategic importance to bilateral cooperation and that the governments of both Hungary and Japan consider the development of bilateral ties an important goal,” he said.

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