Péter Szijjártó, Minister of Foreign Affairs and Trade, said Hungary and Russia have agreed on changes to the construction and financing contract of the upgrade of the Paks nuclear power plant with a view to enabling the project’s continuation and completion.
Speaking in Moscow on Tuesday, said after talks with Alexey Likhachev, Rosatom’s chief executive, the foreign minister said the war in Ukraine and the responses to it have not made it any easier to make progress on the expansion of the Paks plant. Though so far sanctions on nuclear energy have been prevented, “it is clear that throughout Europe, in many cases there are efforts to block successful nuclear cooperation between Hungary and Russia through political means and unlawful decisions”, the minister said. Minister Szijjártó said that regardless of the war and the sanctions, the Paks contract had to be modified because of the technical and technological changes seen in the nine years since it was signed. “The sanctions have only added to this, so by modifying the contract Russia and Hungary had to find the legal framework that ensured that the nuclear plant can be built,” he said. Hungary and Russia have also agreed on how the construction and financing contract would be changed, he added. Once those modifications are finalized, they will be submitted to the European Commission for approval, Minister Szijjártó said. “We hope the European Commission doesn’t wish to put Hungary’s long-term energy supply at risk,” he said, adding that the plant’s new blocks were critical to guaranteeing a sustainable and affordable energy supply in the coming period. Meanwhile, Minister Szijjártó welcomed the completion of the diaphragm wall monitoring tests, adding that they have been submitted to the National Atomic Energy Authority and the power plant’s leadership for review.