Uzbekistan and Hungary have agreed that Uzbekistan will use Hungarian cooling technology in the construction of its Paks-II NPP, according to Hungary’s Minister of Foreign Affairs & Trade, Péter Szijjártó. He noted on his Facebook page that Uzbekistan is preparing to build a new NPP as the demand for electricity will double by 2030. “We, Hungarians, are doing the same, preparations are already underway for the construction of two new power units at Paks, and since we have several decades of experience in the field of nuclear energy, we have already begun training future Uzbek nuclear workers in Hungary,” he wrote.

“We agreed that, if Uzbekistan signs a contract with Rosatom for the construction of a new power plant, they will use Hungarian cooling technology. This will be a contract worth more than $100m, which will lead to one of the most significant energy exports from Hungary in history,” he emphasised.

Hungary has begun training nuclear energy specialists from Uzbekistan, Szijjártó said during a recent visit to Tashkent to attend the ninth meeting of the Uzbek-Hungarian Intergovernmental Commission on Economic Cooperation. Trade between Hungary and Uzbekistan has increased by 86% since 2010 and last year exceeded $100m. Officials from 29 Hungarian companies also attended the meeting. Uzbekistan is allocating a special zone for Hungarian business, noted Szijjártó.

From 30 June, direct flights will resume between Tashkent and Budapest. In addition, in August 2023, the parties agreed to create a joint fund. During his current visit, Szijjártó announced his readiness to increase the size of the fund from €50m ($53.8m) to €150m.

In July 2020, Uzbekistan and Hungary discussed the use of “dry” technology for cooling circulating water at large thermal power plants, including NPPs, which is used by the Hungarian company Eniox. Hungary stated that it is ready to provide financing to Eximbank of Hungary of €130m to support the participation of Eniox in this project.

Earlier in May, Uzbekistan’s Deputy Minister of Energy and Director of the Agency for Nuclear Energy Development (Uzatom), Azim Akhmedkhadzhaev, in an interview with on the sidelines of the Tashkent Investment Forum, spoke about about negotiations with Russia on the construction of a NPP in Uzbekistan. “We are now just negotiating on general issues not specifics,” he said, noting that the parties are discussing various areas of cooperation. “We are only consider the directions, what opportunities exist and in what directions,” he said, noting that Uzbekistan and Russia are discussing cooperation not only in nuclear energy “because an atom is not just energy”. He added: “There is medicine, there is agriculture, there is water purification, and so on. We are now exploring other similar areas. After this, we will clearly understand which area is most appropriate for us and which direction we should develop first.”

He said there are no negotiations underway with other countries on nuclear energy. “No specific negotiations are being held with any country. Various offers are coming from other countries. For example, from the USA and Korea….There are different proposals, we will consider them in working order.”

At the end of December 2023, Hyundai Engineering announced that it was considering the possibility of building small nuclear reactors in Uzbekistan, in particular advanced modular reactors based on integrated systems such as the SMART reactor, which KAERI has been developing since 1997.

At the end of March, First Deputy Head of Rosatom Kirill Komarov said that negotiations between Uzbekistan and Russia on nuclear power plants were going “quite successfully.” According to him, experts have already examined in detail the site where the plant is expected to be built, and the most optimal technological solutions have been determined. He also added that engineers and companies from around the world, including France and South Korea, will take part in the project.

Earlier, Energy Minister Zhurabek Mirzamakhmudov, confirmed in an interview with Daryo, that meetings and negotiations with Rosatom were continuing. “Given that this is a very large strategic project, you do not need to hurry, you need to weigh everything, measure not seven times, but 77 times. After a full analysis and calculations, we will report to the government and the president.”