Hungarian Foreign Minister Peter Szijjarto has appeared at the nuclear fair “Atomvår” in Russia. Despite the Ukraine war, Hungary’s government still hopes for new Russian-built nuclear power.
“The global energy crisis means that it is more important than ever that a country can produce its energy,” Szijjarto writes on Facebook, where he also posts pictures from a speech he gave at the fair in Sochi. “The nuclear power plant in Paks has a key role to play in our energy security”.
“Hypersensitive construction project”
He is referring to a bid to expand Hungary’s only nuclear power plant, which currently has four reactors in the central parts of the country. Two new reactors are estimated to cost a total of 12 billion euros (132 billion kroner).
But the project is politically hypersensitive, as both the funding and the work come from Russia.
– As a European project, the Hungarian project is in greater danger than any other of our projects, admits Aleksey Lichatjev, CEO of the Russian state-owned Rosatom, at the fair.
– But our relations with the Hungarian customers, with the Hungarian government, still allow the project to continue, he says according to the Russian news agency Interfax.
I believe construction will start in 2023
Due to the Ukraine war, the EU, and thus Hungary, has sanctions against Russia that can hinder the construction. But for now, Rosatom is sticking to the plan that construction is scheduled to start in the fall of 2023.
The project is one of several similar ones, where Russia builds nuclear power for other countries. In Turkey, reactor construction in Akkuyu is progressing, despite several previous financial and political disagreements.
In Finland, however, earlier this year a venture where Russians were to build a reactor in Pyhäjoki, 15 miles from Swedish Umeå, was stopped. The Ukraine war was considered too risky.