NewsRosatom's Paks project spared from sanctions in EU energy deal

Rosatom's Paks project spared from sanctions in EU energy deal

Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor Orbán
Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor Orbán
Images source: © Getty Images | Simona Granati - Corbis
Przemysław Ciszak

25 June 2024 09:13

The project for the expansion of the nuclear power plant in Paks by Rosatom has been fully exempted from sanctions, which means that the investment can be accelerated – announced Hungarian Foreign Minister Péter Szijjártó. It will be the first nuclear facility that Rosatom will build in the European Union.

The expansion of the nuclear power plant in Paks by Rosatom is exempt from sanctions. It will be the first nuclear facility that Rosatom will build in the European Union.

The construction of new blocks of the nuclear power plant in Paks and all its processes, phases, and elements are completely exempt from sanctions – announced Foreign Minister Szijjártó, who is currently in Luxembourg.

Ultimatum?

Earlier, the Hungarian-language portal of Radio Free Europe reported that Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor Orbán's government agreed to the 14th package of sanctions against Russia in exchange for not taking steps that would threaten the expansion of Hungary's only nuclear power plant.

According to Szijjártó, European companies that intend to engage in the project will not have to ask for permission from their country's authorities.

The expansion of new blocks in Paks involves, among others, French Framatome and German Siemens. However, the government in Berlin has long blocked the involvement of the company that was supposed to provide control systems for the new blocks, which Budapest has repeatedly criticised.

Previously, Russia also committed to ensuring stable supplies of nuclear fuel to Hungary.

Sanctions to hit Moscow

After more than a month of negotiations, EU countries agreed on Thursday on the 14th package of sanctions against Russia. The new restrictions are intended to hinder the Kremlin's access to technology and limit its revenue from energy resource exports.

The Russian state-owned company Rosatom is building two new nuclear power plant blocks of 1,200 MW each in Paks, central Hungary. The project, Paks II, is one of the key energy projects of the Orbán government. The total value of the investment is expected to be about £10 billion, with 80% of the costs covered by a Russian loan.

According to Hungarian authorities, the new blocks are expected to be connected to the grid at the beginning of the next decade, although experts speak of significant project delays.

Budapest regularly reiterates that it will block any package of sanctions that includes cooperation in the field of nuclear energy. At the end of May, Hungary also signed a cooperation agreement in this field with Belarus.

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