Hungary says Paks II work to start in July

07 June 2023

Hungary's Foreign and Trade Minister Peter Szijjártó said preparatory works would start for the Paks II nuclear power plant project in Hungary next month. It followed talks with Rosatom Director General Alexei Likhachev.

Likhachev, left, Orban, second from right (Image: MTI/Prime Minister's Press Office/Zoltán Fischer)

"The modified contractual framework ensures faster progress with full respect for safety rules," he said, referring to the contract updates agreed between Rosatom and the Hungarian government in April.

"Both Rosatom and we, the government, are committed that the new Paks nuclear power plant units should be in operation by the very beginning of the next decade," he added.

The contract modifications were approved by the European Commission last month, and he said that this meant "we can speed up the investment, remove a lot of bureaucratic burdens". He said cut-off wall work would start in early July as well as other groundworks, followed by first concrete.

Hungary's Prime Minister Viktor Orbán also held talks with Likhachev on Monday as the country pushes ahead with the project despite other European Union countries dropping Russian links as a result of its war with Ukraine.

The Paks II project was launched in early 2014 by an intergovernmental agreement between Hungary and Russia for two VVER-1200 reactors to be supplied by Rosatom, with the contract supported by a Russian state loan to finance the majority of the project. The application was submitted in July 2020 to construct Paks II alongside the existing Paks plant, 100 kilometres southwest of Budapest on the banks of the Danube river. Hungary's National Atomic Energy Office issued the construction licence in August 2022. In January this year, Hungary's Energy Minister Csaba Lantos said the Paks II plant was now expected to be completed in 2032.

The existing four units at Paks are VVER-440 reactors that started up between 1982 and 1987 and they produce about half of the country's electricity. Their design lifetime was for 30 years but that was extended in 2005 by 20 years to 2032 and 2037. In December, the Hungarian Parliament approved a proposal to further extend their lifespan, which means preparations can begin on operating the plant into the 2050s.

Researched and written by World Nuclear News