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Hungary and Russia revise nuclear power plant agreement

April 15th, 2023

A left-wing columnist believes the Hungarian side will be worse off with the new arrangement the two countries are preparing for the two giant nuclear power blocks to be built by the Danube.

On Tuesday, Foreign Minister Péter Szíjjártó renegotiated the Russian-Hungarian agreement on the planned new power station at Paks. No details have been released on the changes to the terms of construction and financing, but the Foreign Minister said the aim is to avoid potential sanctions on Russia’s Rosatom. Revised documents for the Paks-2 project will be submitted to the European Commission for approval. ‘We hope the European Commission will not jeopardize the long-term safety of Hungary’s power supply’ Mr Szíjjártó added.

In Népszava, Miklós Hargitai suggests that Hungary should not have accepted the Rosatom offer in the first place (in 2014) since almost identical projects had already shown multiple technical problems in Belarus and Finland. But now, when the Russian bank financing the Hungarian project has been hit by Western sanctions, and further sanctions are expected against Rosatom, he argues, Hungary should have terminated the contract. Instead, Hargitay quotes unnamed sources as saying that under the new model, Rosatom will be replaced by a Hungarian company as the main contractor, to avoid Western sanctions. He thinks the Hungarian side will thus take over all the risks from Rosatom. Under the original contract, the Russian company had to deliver the power station at a fixed price and was liable for all potential malfunctions, while under the new arrangement, he concludes, the Hungarian side will have to shoulder responsibility for any increased costs and potential technical problems.

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