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European Commission Gives Green Light To Hungary’s Paks Upgrade

Tamás Székely 2015.04.21.

The European Commission (EC) has approved Hungary’s agreement with Russia concerning radioactive fuel supplies for the Paks nuclear power plant, cabinet chief János Lázár said. The EC has informed the government in an official letter that the Euratom Supply Agency (ESA) had granted its approval to the deal, Lázár said. The approval clears all obstacles blocking a planned upgrade of the Paks plant, he said. “Now the question is not if the upgrade goes ahead but in what way,” said Lázár, adding that the actual construction of two new blocks could start in 2018.

János Lázár called the Commission’s approval a milestone, with which the implementation of the project aimed at maintaining and extending the capacity of the Paks Nuclear Power Plant has taken a big step forward. He insisted that it was a “great success” for the government to have been able to convince the EC that the Hungary-Russia agreement is “aimed at increasing Europe’s energy security rather than at increasing Hungary’s dependence on Russia”. The cabinet chief noted that Hungary sought to conclude three agreements with Russia, concerning the construction and management of, and fuel supplies for, the two new blocks. The third deal required direct approval from the EC, he said. Lázár said, however, that talks between the government and the EC were still under way concerning economic competition and purchasing issues.

The cabinet chief recalled that one and a half months ago there were reports that the Supply Agency and the European Commission had blocked the Hungarian-Russian nuclear cooperation. At that time, Lázár said, the Hungarian government had made it clear that this was not the case, and that in fact the parties were going to closely cooperate in order to settle the difference of opinion. As a result of constructive negotiations, the European Commission has signed the Hungarian-Russian agreement, thus discussions on this matter have been concluded, he explained.

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