Prime Minister Viktor Orbán has had a lengthy telephone conversation with Russian President Vladimir Putin regarding the Paks II nuclear upgrade project, given the nod by the European Commission this week.
According to sources, PM Orbán and President Putin discussed logistics surrounding the project, also covering bilateral issues linking the two countries, agreements signed during their meeting in February, and international current affairs.
According to government sources, the Paks II project is likely to cost a total of 200 billion HUF (644.5 million EUR), as opposed to the 99.7 billion HUF (321.3 million EUR) currently allocated in the government budget.
Mihály Varga, minister for National Economy, said that the EC’s approval of the project is great news, adding that if there does happen to be an increase in budeget then the government will have to either tap into current budget reserves, or take out additional loans from Russia to pay for the project. The minister emphasized that the government will use domestic resources to cover the increased costs as much as possible.
Hungary aims to replace the four reactors currently operating at the Paks site, which were constructed in the 1980s and account for approximately 50 percent of Hungary's domestic electricity production. Hungary considers that the construction of Paks II is necessary to replace phased out generation capacity and to address the need for new capacity.