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Apr 19, 2016

Every country has the right to decide on its own energy mix, says government commissioner on Paks

As the project to enlarge the Paks atomic power station continues, Hungary is acting in harmony with the EU’s energy policy considering that the European Commission itself is monitoring the maintenance of nuclear production capacity in the future, the government commissioner responsible for maintaining the capacity of the Paks atomic power station told the Hungarian News Agency MTI on Monday.

Attila Aszódi noted that the European Commission’s recently released strategic report, which estimates that the maintenance of the current level of nuclear production capacity by 2050 in Europe may require projects costing 400 to 450 billion EUR. The maintenance of available capacity involves both the construction of new power plants and the extension of the lifespan of existing ones, he added. He stressed that Commission's report classifies the VVER-1200 reactor, which is planned to be installed as part of the Paks project, as one of the most advanced reactors. 

It is indeed an important sovereign right for every country to have the freedom to decide on its own energy mix, the commissioner said. While Austria is able to generate 60 per cent of the electricity used from hydropower due to its high mountains, this is not possible in Hungary, he said, commenting on the Austrian position, which underlines the importance of renewable energy sources. 

He reiterated that atomic power stations account for 27 per cent of the electricity generated in Europe, and there are reactors in 14 out of the 28 Member States. The fact that these power plants generate power around the clock has enormous benefits in supply security and climate protection, he pointed out. He further remarked that there are at present nuclear power station projects in various phases, from the actual construction works, through planning permission, to preparatory works, in ten EU countries, and mentioned Slovakia, France and Finland as examples.

Commissioner Aszódi pointed out that renewable energy sources, such as solar and wind power as well as biomass, are eligible for enormous state grants. In the case of Paks II, there is no need for subsidies or fixed buying prices in order for the investment of the project to be recovered, he said. The project will be able to recover all its costs at the electricity price level that is expected to prevail by the mid-2020s.

As they entered into a fixed-price agreement with the Russian main contractor, there will be no need for any excess investments that were not included in the calculations made to date, the government commissioner added.