The Paks nuclear power plant expansion is no longer about paperwork, but about actual construction. Accordingly, the parties have signed a timetable for the coming years, ensuring that the new units can start production by the early 2030s, Minister of Foreign Affairs and Trade Péter Szijjártó announced at the Paks plant.
At a joint press conference with Alexey Likhachev, head of the Russian nuclear energy company Rosatom, the minister welcomed the start of construction of the new reactors in Paks, and pointed out that the expansion is the largest nuclear project on the continent with a construction license, and that
it is a truly international cooperation, as in addition to the Russian main contractor, several American, German, French, Swedish, Austrian, and 94 Hungarian companies have been involved.
He added that the excavation under both planned blocks had been completed to a depth of five meters, and that the next target was to reach a depth of 23 meters. He also noted that the gap-filling work was progressing well. In addition, work has started on soil consolidation and sixty buildings will be erected in the next six months.
Alexey Likhachev and Péter Szijjártó (L-R). Photo via MTI/Vasvári Tamás
Today we have signed the schedule for the next few years, and on this basis I can tell you that we will be able to connect the new nuclear power plant to the grid at the beginning of the next decade,”
Péter Szijjártó emphasized.
He also said that the investment would allow Hungary to remain among the 20 countries in the world that are increasing their economic performance while reducing their emissions.
He stressed that the government has a duty to secure the country’s energy supply. “Therefore, it is important to increase our independence, i.e. to reduce our vulnerability to international energy markets (…) and to protect our environment,” the politician pointed out.
Minister Szijjártó underlined that the European Union is divided into two parts on the issue of nuclear energy, and Hungary is a member of the pro-nuclear bloc led by France. “It is clear that the attacks on nuclear energy have no basis in fact, they are based solely on ideology,” he said.
Alexey Likhachev confirmed that there is no alternative to nuclear energy, that it is now the most stable, the most predictable and the cleanest source of energy from an environmental point of view. “We are well aware that the international environment is not exactly friendly to Rosatom, but we are ready to implement this project to the maximum, despite external pressures,” he stressed.
The CEO highlighted that
the handover is expected in the early 2030s, and by that time not only the two new units and the training of the workforce will be ready, but also the fuel supply will be secured.
“We have a big project ahead of us, but we have already come a long way, a way in which we have got to know each other better, our friendship has been strengthened, and we can cooperate better,” he added.
Rosatom said in a statement that in Russia, the production of the long-life equipment for the Paks II project – the reactor vessel, the zone melt trap, the reactor and its equipment – has already begun. The number of workers on site is steadily increasing, reaching 800-900 by the end of 2023, and around 2,000 by the end of 2024. During the peak period, the number of workers on the site will increase to 10-13,000.
Via MTI, Featured image via Facebook/Szijjártó Péter