Hungary to follow Finnish model to satisfy EU on nuclear power deal

The Hungarian government has accepted recommendations from the European Commission that may enable the Paks II nuclear power plant development to go ahead.

Budapest has agreed that it must diversify its nuclear fuel supply away from Russia. An initial deal to exclusively use Russian fuel for the plant for twenty years has now been shortened to ten. International competition for the supply contracts will then be in place.
Euratom, the EU’s atomic fuel watchdog, had rejected the original terms of the supply contract, complaining of the exclusive supply rights given to Russia. The deal had run counter to the EU’s desire to wean member states off dependence on Russian oil and gas.

Hungary’s Prime Minister Viktor Orban says his country is now prepared to make adjustments and model the deal on terms for a Finnish nuclear energy project involving Rosatom subsidiary TVER, which is due to begin operation in 2024.

“We thought that our contract is acceptable as is, but we left ourselves some room for manoeuvre, so what is good for Finland will be also good for us,” Mr Orban told reporters following last week’s EU leaders summit in Brussels.

“Hungary has accepted the comments of the European Commission . . . we have succeeded in finding a solution,” János Lázár, a senior Hungarian minister told MTI, the Hungarian state news agency on Tuesday evening, adding that the changes were acceptable to Rosatom.

Despite reaching a deal on fuel supply, Hungary still needs to overcome concerns among EU officials about the way in which contracts for the project were awarded to Rosatom subsidiaries in 2014 without a public tender. The European Commission is also investigating whether the Paks deal violates EU rules on state aid.

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