Rosatom reassures Hungary on Paks nuclear plant: Minister

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Hungary has received assurances from Russia’s Rosatom that it remains able to build planned new blocks at the Paks nuclear plant, the foreign minister said on Thursday.

In Finland consortium Fennovoima said on Monday it had scrapped a contract with Rosatom citing delays and increased risks due to the war in Ukraine.

Hungary, which is heavily dependent on Russian gas and oil, and which has said it would not back an EU proposal for sanctions on Russian oil imports, did not give any indication that it would ditch the nuclear plant project with Rosatom, even though it has been delayed by years.

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After meeting Rosatom’s chief executive in Istanbul, Foreign Minister Peter Szijjarto said in a statement that the planned construction of the two new blocks at Paks served Hungary’s strategic interests.

Szijjarto said the Hungarian Atomic Energy Authority was reviewing the requests for permits submitted by Rosatom and once these are approved the project could enter its next phase.

Hungary wants to expand its Russian-built 2-gigawatt Paks nuclear power plant with two Russian-made VVER reactors, each with a capacity of 1.2 gigawatts.

The project, awarded in 2014 without a tender to Rosatom, has been often cited as a sign of warm ties between Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor Orban and Russian President Vladimir Putin. The project has suffered serious delays.

Nuclear energy is not subject to European Union sanctions.

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