Russian state-owned nuclear power company Rosatom received the approval of the Hungarian Atomic Energy Authority (OAH) for the construction of two blocks at the Paks II nuclear power plant (NPP). After years of waiting, a license was granted for the 2.4 GW project. The NPP will be built by Rosatom, under a turnkey system and based on the intergovernmental agreement between the countries.
The Hungarian Atomic Energy Authority (OAH) has issued building permits for the reactor buildings of Block 5 and 6 and other buildings on the so-called nuclear island. With the issuance of the building permit, the conditions for entering the second phase of the project are fully met, according to Rosatom.
After inspecting the design documentation, OAH issued a license for the construction of two blocks with reactors. The application for permits was submitted just over two years ago, and the entire documentation submitted in the procedure had over 400,000 pages.
Paks II will be owned by the state energy company MVM
A new nuclear power plant is being built as part of the expansion of the Paks NPP, located about 100km southwest of Budapest on the banks of the Danube. The Paks NPP is owned by the state energy company MVM, as will be the case with the new plant.
Intergovernmental agreement as basis of project
Under the 2014 interstate agreement, the Russian Federation will provide Hungary with a state loan of EUR 10 billion to finance 80% of the Paks II project. The loan’s repayment period is 21 years, while the remaining 20% of the project’s costs are planned to be financed by the Hungarian government.
This is the first time a block with this type of reactor has received a building permit in the European Union, Rosatom noted.
“The construction license confirms that the project complies with the international and Hungarian safety requirements. It is entirely feasible that Hungary will have two new power units by 2030, thus ensuring the stability of energy supply,” noted Péter Szijjártó, Hungary’s Minister of Foreign Affairs and Trade.
The new nuclear plant will have automated systems of active and passive safety, according to Rosatom.
“An enormous amount of work has been accomplished together with our Hungarian partners to prepare the documentation. We are confident that the Paks II NPP will guarantee Hungary’s energy sovereignty for almost a century and bring European countries closer to achieving climate goals,” said Alexey Likhachev, ROSATOM Director General.
Paks II will have two reactors with a capacity of 1,200 MW each
Paks II will have two VVER-1200 reactors of Russian design with a capacity of 1,200 MW each. Each water-cooled reactor unit will have dual structures to protect against earthquakes, tsunamis, hurricanes, and aircraft crashes.
Nuclear blocks 5 and 6 have a guaranteed service life of 60 years. The main contractor is Rosatom, and preparations and soil reinforcement are currently underway for the construction of a new nuclear power plant.
The plan to build a new nuclear facility in Hungary was opposed by environmental organizations. However, an EIA for Paks II was approved in 2016.
In March 2017, the project approval from the European Commission also arrived, which assessed that the effects of the new plant on competition would be acceptable.
Extension of nuclear capabilities
The existing Paks NPP is the only nuclear power plant in the Hungary. It uses four VVER-440 units, with a capacity of 500 MW each. These four nuclear reactors produce more than half of the electricity in the country.
Rosatom’s foreign order portfolio includes 34 units at different stages of implementation in 11 countries, according to the Russian state-owned company.
President of Serbia, Aleksandar Vučić, has repeatedly voiced the government’s interest in a share in a nuclear power plant over the last year. The future nuclear power plant in Hungary was mentioned as one of the better options.