Hungary’s Energy Minister Csaba Lantos said the Paks II plant is now expected to be completed in 2032, which would be two years later than previously suggested. He also confirmed that Hungary plans to extend the operation period of the four-unit Paks nuclear power plant by another 20 years.
The Minister emphasised that Paks II is an important investment project for the country. He pointed out that once the project is completed, Hungary could cover about 4 gigawatt-hours (GWh) of its 6 GWh electricity consumption, which would decrease the country’s import exposure and contribute to its energy sovereignty.
The Paks nuclear power plant consists of four 500 megawatts (MW) VVER-440 units that produce about half of the country’s electricity. Their design lifetime was for 30 years but that was extended in 2005 by 20 years to 2032 and 2037. The Hungarian government is committed to further extending their lifespan by another 20 years.
Hungary, highly dependent on energy imports, aims to expand its Paks nuclear power plant with two Russian-made VVER reactors, with a capacity of 1.2 GW each to supplement its four existing reactors. Hungary’s nuclear regulator granted a construction licence for two new reactors at the end of August. The expected completion date for Paks II has been the end of this decade, but the new energy minister now said that the planned completion date of the project is 2032.
“If Paks II comes online, it is very important that it happens as soon as possible, but such nuclear power plants take a long time to build, so we are now counting on 2032, (…) it would mean to a great extent that we were able to make significant progress in our energy sovereignty. The nuclear option is an absolute must,” underlined the Minister.
The Hungarian government confirmed many times that it is going ahead with the planned scheme, despite Russia’s actions in Ukraine which have led other EU member countries to withdraw from common projects with Russia’s Rosatom.
Hungary repeatedly stated that it will oppose any measures that directly or indirectly endanger the expansion of its Paks Nuclear Power Plant. 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.
At the same time, Ukraine’s Prime Minister Denys Shmyhal just announced this Monday that they expect the European Union to include Russian state nuclear energy company Rosatom in its next round of sanctions over the war in Ukraine.