First concrete for Paks-II planned for 2024

14 July 2023

First concrete for Hungary’s Paks-II NPP is expected in the summer of 2024, the head of the Office of the Prime Minister of Hungary, Gergely Guiyash, told a press briefing. The previous day, Hungarian Foreign Minister Peter Szijjártó said work is underway to build an anti-filtration curtain at the site to protect the pit and future facilities from groundwater.

Following a meeting with Szijjártó in Budapest, Russian Health Minister and Co-chairman of the Russian-Hungarian inter-governmental commission on economic cooperation, Mikhail Murashko said Russia is doing everything necessary to implement the Paks-II project in Hungary with the participation of Rosatom. “Russia is taking all necessary measures to ensure that the construction project of the Paks-II NPP in Hungary is implemented on schedule,” he emphasised. Szijjártó noted that Hungary expects to complete the construction of two new power units at Paks by 2030-2031.

“These are real targets,” he said. He also insisted that Hungary would no longer support the imposition of sanctions against Russia in the field of nuclear energy. “The NPP at Paks is a long-term guarantee of Hungary's energy security,” he explained.

Szijjártó also said that the Russian government has notified Hungary of its intention to approve amendments to the contract for the construction of Paks-II, which were previously agreed by the parties and approved by the European Commission. After that, the amended contract can be signed. Correction of the documents was required as they were originally signed in 2014 and since then there have been changes in the financial and technological aspects. "The bottom line is that we have done all the legal work to speed up the Paks-II project," the minister stressed.

The Paks-II project was launched in 2014 by an inter-governmental agreement between Hungary and Russia for two VVER-1200 reactors (units 5&6) to be supplied by Rosatom. The contract was supported by a Russian state loan to finance the majority of the project. The Hungarian Atomic Energy Authority issued the licence for the units in August 2022. The following December, the Hungarian parliament approved the extension of the life of the four existing VVER-440 power units at the Paks NPP for another 20 years. The current life of the station's nuclear reactors would have ended in 2032-2037, and now it is assumed that they will work until at least 2052-2057. Paks currently provides half of all generated and one third of the consumed electricity in Hungary.

Image: Artist's impression of the Paks II nuclear site (courtesy of Rosatom)

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