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FT: European Commission Can Veto Hungary's Paks Upgrade

Tamás Székely 2015.02.24.

The European Union’s review of the Russian-backed project to expand Hungary’s Paks nuclear power plant is still in its early stages, the European Commission’s spokesman for energy affairs told Hungarian news agency MTI, commenting on a Financial Times report that the upgrade is “facing a growing threat from EU regulators”. Ana-Kaisa Itkonen said the review of the project is “in a very early stage”. “No conclusion of any kind can be drawn as to whether the agreement is in harmony with EU rules on public procurements or state aid,” she said.

According to Financial Times, Hungary’s deal to award up to €12bn in nuclear power contracts to a Russian state-owned company is facing a growing threat from EU regulators who have the power to block the project. Although the European Commission did not raise objections to an intergovernmental agreement signed by the two countries just over a year ago, the award of contracts for the Paks plant has thrown up thorny competition concerns, FT said.

A loan from Russia is covering 80% of the cost of the upgrade with energy giant Rosatom carrying out the project. Hungary awarded contracts to design, build and maintain two 1,200 megawatt reactors in the town of Paks, 75 miles south of Budapest, to a subsidiary of the Russian atomic energy company. Last week Russian news agency TASS said Rosatom might even build two additional blocks for Hungary’s Paks power plant in the future.

via hungarymatters.hu, MTI and ft.com photo: paksnuclearpowerplant.com