Hungary receives Russian nuclear fuel by air

11 April 2022

VVER fuel being fabricated for Paks in 2020 (photo credit: Tvel)Hungary received the first shipment of nuclear fuel for the Paks nuclear power plant from by air from Russia on 6 April, after the war in Ukraine made rail transport impossible, according to Foreign Minister Peter Szijjarto.

"Fuel has always come from Russia by rail via Ukraine, unfortunately ... this is no longer possible so we had to find an alternative way for shipping," Szijjarto said on Facebook. He said the fuel shipment had arrived via the airspace of Belarus, Poland and Slovakia with the approval of all three countries, as nuclear energy is not subject to any European Union sanctions.

Szijjártó was speaking on the sidelines of the NATO foreign ministers’ meeting in Brussels.

Russian plane IL-76, owned by Russia'sVolga-Dnepr Airlines, landed in Pápa at the Hungarian Defense Forces airfield, Telex reported. The flight required a special permit, as EU airspace was closed to Russian aircraft at the beginning of the war in Ukraine.

“The arrival of the fuel means that Hungary’s energy supply is secured,” Szijjártó said, adding that Hungary’s own power generation capacity is of strategic importance and that the Paks nuclear power plant plays an important role in maintaining the reduction of energy prices.

Paks, which comprises four VVER-440 reactors, produces 49.6% of electricity in Hungary and covers more than a third its electricity needs.  

Hungary’s Prime Minister Viktor Orbán, recently re-elected for a fourth term, made clear at an international press conference the previous day that Hungary will not support the planned EU sanctions against Russian oil and gas and also stressed that the nuclear area was a "red line" for the Hungarian government. 

Photo: VVER fuel being fabricated for Paks in 2020 (Credit: Tvel)

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