Hungary: NGOs Energiaklub and Greenpeace appealed against NPP Paks expansion

, SEE Energy News

Environmental non-governmental organizations Energiaklub and Greenpeace have submitted an appeal against the environmental license for the project for the expansion of Hungarian sole nuclear power plant Paks to the National Inspectorate for Environment, Nature and Water.

These two organizations explain that the environmental impact study, based on which the project should obtain the environmental license, contains unlawful elements and shortcomings, while at the same time fails to answer some important questions such as the what are the measures in an event of a serious incident or where the used fuel rods will be stored in long-term. They state that Natura 2000 impact estimate in the study is incorrect and that thermal and radioactive impact on the river Danube would violate the obligations stipulated in the EU’s Water Framework Directive.

On 14 January 2014, Hungarian government has signed deal with Russia`s atomic energy corporation – Rosatom, with a goal to increase output of the power plant, from current 2,000 MW to 4,400 MW by adding two more reactors. Under the agreement, Russia will provide 10 billion euros loan for the construction of new unit in existing NPP, which is around 80% of estimated construction cost. First unit is expected to become operational in 2023. However, In mid-January the European Commission released a report in which it states that Hungary has failed to provide sufficient information to support its argument that the agreement for the expansion of NPP Paks will not provide the company unfair economic advantage. The PM’s Office reiterated that stand of the Hungarian Government is that the project for the expansion of NPP Paks is competitive and expects that the investment will be returned through increased revenues of the company, so it does not constitute as state aid.

After a series of talks between the Hungarian Government and the European Commission regarding the project for NPP Paks expansion, Vice-President of the European Commission in charge of the Energy Union Maros Sefcovic said in September that Hungary and Brussels are close to settling every outstanding issue with a positive outcome. He said that if Hungary decides to build this nuclear power plant, which is in full accordance with the right of every EU member state to decide on their energy mix, it will be able to do it in accordance with the EU law.