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Russia–backed nuke plant in Hungary, gets greenlight from EU

The European Union (EU) on March 06 has cleared Hungary to build two nuclear power units with Generation III+ Russian VVER – 1200 reactors after Budapest made commitments to safeguard competition in the energy sector.

The new plants will be financed mostly with a loan of US$ 10.6 billion from Russia and to be implemented by Russian State Nuclear Power Corporation – ROSATOM, said a press release.

The Hungarian deal for Russia to build the two additional reactors at the Paks nuclear plant, which had been agreed in January 2014, had been held up because of the EU`s regulatory demands.

The EU wanted to check whether Hungarian state aid for the project would hurt competition. Yesterday’s decision by EU has removed the last roadblock in implementation of Hungarian project.

"The Hungarian government has made substantial commitments, which has allowed the commission to approve the investment under EU state aid rules," EU Antitrust Commissioner Margrethe Vestager said.

Welcoming the EU decision, Kirill Komarov, First Deputy CEO of ROSATOM said, “Construction of two new units at Paks NPP is an important project of Hungarian-Russian bilateral cooperation and we are glad to proceed to the active stage of its implementation. Advanced Russian Gen III+ units will be built in Hungary in compliance with post-Fukushima safety requirements and IAEA recommendations.”

As part of its commitments to the EU Commission, Hungary will have to make sure that profits cannot be used to reinvest in additional generator capacity and sell at least 30 percent of its output on the open power exchange. The running of the new operations must also be separate from that of the existing Paks nuclear plants. 

Main construction of the additional nuclear power units at Paks NPP, 120km from Budapest is expected to begin in 2018.

The units are slated to start production at the second half of the next decade. Presently, there are four Soviet built VVER 440 reactors at the site which are contributing over 50% of the Hungary’s domestic electricity production.

Nuclear power units with Generation III+ VVER – 1200 reactors are in different stages of implementation in Russia, Belorussia, Finland and Bangladesh.

ROSATOM ranks first in NPP construction abroad implementing construction projects for 34 units in 12 countries: in Europe, Middle East, North Africa and Asia- Pacific region.

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