Hungarian village approves waste plans

21 July 2005

Residents of the Hungarian village of Bataapati have approved the use of a nearby area as a low-level and intermediate-level radioactive waste storage site in a recent referendum.

Up to 26 tonnes of waste from Paks, the nation’s only nuclear plant, will be stored at the facility.

Some HUF 13 billion (€53 million) has been spent on geological studies of the site and a further HUF 10 billion (€40 million) will be spent completing the facility.

Of the settlement's 330 eligible voters, 249 voted and of these more than 90% are in favour of the site, although parliamentary approval is still required for construction of the facility.

Meanwhile, Hungary's National Atomic Energy Agency (OAH) has issued a preliminary permit to Paks for the removal of 30 fuel rods damaged in an incident at reactor unit II in April 2003. By permitting the removal of the rods from a cleaning tank, OAH has stated that the activity is feasible in terms of nuclear safety.

Although a timescale for the removal has not been disclosed, repair works on the damaged rods are progressing according to plan, with the permit in principle the first but most important in a line of permits that are required to complete the work.

Russia's TVEL has been selected to clean up the damaged rods and tank at a reported cost of around €3.75 million.

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