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Paks Upgrade: Hungary, EU Come To Agreement Based On “Finnish Model”

By Tamás Székely // 2015.03.25.

Hungary has reached an agreement with the Euratom Supply Agency (ESA) regarding Russia’s planned supply of nuclear fuel for the country’s Paks power plant, Reuters reported. All obstacles have been removed from the way of solving the issue of the fuel supply contract necessary for the extension of the Paks Nuclear Power Plant, Hungarian Cabinet Chief János Lázár told news agency MTI in a phone interview given after consultations held with Commissioner for Climate Action and Energy Miguel Arias in Brussels.

“Hungary has accepted the comments of the European Commission: the fuel supply contract necessary to maintain the capacity of the Paks Nuclear Power Plant will be arranged according to the Finnish model”, Lázár said. The Fennovoima reactor in northern Finland, which will be supplied and fuelled by Rosatom, is expected to begin output in 2024 and it will acquire the nuclear fuel from TVEL, which also belongs to the Rosatom Group. The Euratom Supply Agency charged with nuclear fuel supply across the EU had sought changes to the Paks supply deal, asking that players other than Russians be allowed to ship fuel to the plant in the future. “We have succeeded in finding a solution with the help of which Hungary wins and the EU law also comes to effect”, Lázár said, adding that a good solution is about to emerge.

János Lázár stated that Minister of State Balázs Sonkodi held negotiations with the Euratom Supply Agency (ESA)  in Luxembourg during the day, at which the parties have succeeded in resolving all open issues and in initialling the agreement. He also said they had agreed with the Commissioner that the European Commission will shortly close the case. He also pointed out that as part of the contract, Hungary will provide the opportunity to the Russian party to supply fuel to the reactors to be built for ten years. According to the Minister, this solution is also acceptable to the Russian party. János Lázár underlined that this agreement is very important, because last January, Brussels accepted the Hungarian-Russian agreement with the requirement of EU law prevailing in issues related to fuel supply, competition law and government support.

Two weeks ago, the British economic and political newspaper Financial Times wrote in an article that Brussels is “blocking” the investment; however, the Speaker of the European Commission denied this information the following day, saying that only the issue of the fuel supply contract had been dealt with. Briefing MTI on the issue, the politician confirmed that they would sue the paper. “If this solution is accepted by the Commission, that is live refutation of the information according to which they block the capacity increasing and mainlining project of the Paks Nuclear Power Plant”, János Lázár insisted.

via MTI, and photo: