Illustration - Photo: IAEA

Szijjarto: ‘Nuclear energy could serve as platform of pragmatic East-West cooperation’

Nuclear energy could serve as "an excellent platform" for a pragmatic cooperation between East and West based on mutual interests, Hungary's minister of foreign affairs and trade told a forum in Prague, adding that even in times of conflict, rational thinking should be maintained.
12. September 2023 6:44

Addressing the 8th Central and Eastern Europe Nuclear Industry Congress, Peter Szijjarto said that Europe had been hit by the gravest economic and security challenges of the past decades with the energy crisis posing a major problem.

The continent has not given appropriate answers to the war in Ukraine, the EU’s policy of sanctions has failed, energy resources have dimished while energy prices have soared which all have led to Europe loosing competitiveness, he said, adding that “without nuclear energy, the continent would be unable to regain its competitiveness”. He called nuclear energy important in achieving environment protection goals.

Szijjarto hailed the establishment of a nuclear alliance led by France which already has 16 European member states. He stated support to its plan to develop an integrated European nuclear industry reaching 150 GW of nuclear power capacity in the EU by 2050. He said this required building 30-40 new reactors while extending the life cycle of some operating power plants. “Fighting against negative discrimination and double standards towards nuclear energy is highly important,” he said, adding that “the majority of CEE countries have fortunately a rational approach” towards it. Szijjarto said Hungary would reject any “attempts aimed at approving sanctions on the nuclear industry” because those would seriously hurt the country’s national security and economic interests.

Speaking about Hungary’s nuclear power plant in Paks, Szijjarto said the government’s aim with its expansion was for the country to achieve “climate neutrality” by 2050. He noted that the new blocks to be built as part of the international project would have total capacity of 2,400 megawatts and pre-empt the emission of 17 million tonnes of carbon dioxide per year. Szijjarto said the expansion of the nuclear project, Europe’s largest, was progressing well with all permits obtained in the EU. He pointed out “attempts made regularly by certain players to stymie the projects”, adding however that for Hungary “the security of energy supply is a matter of sovereignty”.

“We view attacks on the project as attempts to violate our right to make sovereign decisions about our national energy mix,” Szijjarto said.

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