Hungary will oppose anything that would directly or indirectly endanger the expansion of its Paks Nuclear Power Plant, Minister of Foreign Affairs and Trade, Péter Szijjártó said at the meeting of the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) in Vienna.
He emphasised that the European Union is heading into recession, as it’s struggling with very serious energy supply problems, skyrocketing energy prices and the disruption of east-west supply chains. He underlined that in this context, there will be no safe energy supply and no affordable energy in Europe without nuclear energy.
“Regrettably, some people in the European Union, exceeding expectations, are putting various obstacles in front of nuclear investments,” said the minister referring to the consultations of the European Commission with EU member states held over the weekend about the next package of Russia sanctions.
“For us, the question of secure energy supply is a question of sovereignty” he highlighted adding that the Hungarian government will consider all measures taken by Brussels, which hinder the construction of the Paks nuclear power plant as an attack on the country’s sovereignty.
Hungary, highly dependent on Russian energy, aims to expand its Paks nuclear power plant with two Russian-made VVER reactors, with a capacity of 1.2 gigawatts each to supplement its four existing reactors, which run on Russian fuel and supply around half the country’s electricity. Hungary’s nuclear regulator granted a construction licence for two new reactors at the end of August.
Péter Szijjártó underlined that the two new reactors meet the strictest safety standards adding that the first concrete elements will be laid next fall. He noted that Hungary has more than 40 years of very positive experience in using nuclear energy which is not only cheap but also sustainable, and necessary for delivering on our climate ambitions-
“The facility is expected to be operational in 2030. With the investment, Hungary will avoid 70 million tons of carbon dioxide emissions every year,” pointed out the minister announcing that in light of the energy crisis, Hungary has submitted an application to extend the life of its current nuclear reactors as well.
He reminded that the composition of the energy mix falls under national authority and nuclear energy is not subject to European Union sanctions. He also clarified the red line for Hungary at the EU negotiations about the next sanction package.
“We will never support anything that threatens our energy supply, directly or indirectly” he stated adding that Hungary will do everything to complete its nuclear power plant as quickly as possible so that it can be integrated into the country’s energy mix and energy network.
Although some EU member states in favour of strong sanctions against Russia are pushing for an end to nuclear cooperation with Moscow, there is no consensus on the issue among the bloc’s 27 members. The bloc’s executive is expected to present a formal proposal to capitals later this week.