Paks-II now scheduled for 2032

13 January 2023

Construction of two new reactors at Hungary's Paks-II NPP could be completed in 2032, newly appointed Hungarian Energy Minister Csaba Lantos has said – this is two years later than the previous target. Nevertheless, preparations for expansion of the plant are continuing. The Hungarian Parliament in 2009 approved construction of two new units. 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 (HAEA) issued the licence for the units in August.

Lantos said Paks-II investment is very important for the country. However, because nuclear power plants take a long time to build, he expected completion by 2032. “The nuclear option is an absolute must,” he insisted. Delays to construction of the plant could arise as a result of new sanctions against Russia, which have so far not affected progress. Ukrainian Prime Minister Denis Smykhal said recently after a meeting with European Commission Executive Vice President Frans Timmermans: “We expect that the 10th (EU sanctions package) will contain restrictions against the Russian nuclear industry, especially Rosatom.”

Lantos told Kossuth Radio, said that in energy Hungary was very dependent on the rest of the world and that this dependence must be reduced. He noted that Hungary was “not completely without resources”. Gas supplies were continuing as was the use of “weather-dependent renewable energy sources” such as wind energy. Some funding was also expected from the European Union, he said, but if, for some reason this does not happen, then the programme to strengthen energy sovereignty “must be implemented from another source”.

He also confirmed his support for extending the operational life of the existing Paks NPP. In December, the Hungarian parliament approved the extension of the life of the four VVER-440 power units for another 20 years. Under Hungarian law, the decision to extend the life of the units did not require parliamentary approval, but the Cabinet of Ministers decided to consult the deputies on this issue anyway. 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 courtesy of Rosatom

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