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​​On 6 February 2014, the Hungarian Parliament approved Bill T/13628 on the Promulgation of the Convention on Cooperation in the Field of Nuclear Energy Between Hungary and Russia with 256 votes in favour, 29 against and 2 abstentions. Of Members of Parliament participating in the vote, 89.2% supported the international convention. (Prior to that, on 30 March 2009, the Hungarian Parliament granted, with 330 votes in favour, 6 against and 10 abstentions, its consent in principle to the commencement of activities for the preparation of the establishment of new nuclear power plant unit(s) at Paks.)

On 3 October 2011, the Hungarian Parliament adopted the ‘National Energy Strategy, with an outlook to 2050’, which sets directions for development and operation in the coming two decades. Under the strategy, in order to facilitate the achievement of its very long-term economic and environmental protection goals, the State wishes to maintain the current share of nuclear energy in domestic electricity production in the long term. 

The new nuclear power plant units will have a design life of 60 years. In order to guarantee maximum nuclear and operational safety, the specialists plan to have a state-of-the-art, so-called Generation 3+, pressurised water reactor type. It was an important requirement for selection that it can fit into the domestic electricity grid in a flexible way, can be controlled in a wide output range (what is called load-following), and is able to meet the specifications of the Hungarian Nuclear Safety Code (NSC).


Importance of the commissioning of the new nuclear power plant units

On the basis of preliminary calculations, only, about 55-60% of installed electrical capacity of power plants existing in 2017 will be available in the Hungarian electricity system by will be available in the Hungarian electricity system by the 2020s. The reasons for the decrease in capacities are that the currently operational large power plant fleet will become obsolete or will be shut down for economic considerations (due to the current market situation in Europe and import capacities available at the moment under favourable conditions).

The existing units of the Paks Nuclear Power Plant, which in 2017 accounted for 50% of the electricity generated in Hungary, will have to be shut down between 2032 and 2037, even if the Hungarian Atomic Energy Authority authorises the lifetime extension of all four units. 

Making up for the capacities thus lost, in particular, the units of the Paks Nuclear Power Plant, is essential for ensuring that electricity supply will not be interrupted and the security of supply will be maintained, mainly from the point of view that on the basis of forecasts, demand for electricity will increase by 1% per year in the next 15 years.

Keeping nuclear energy as dominant energy source in the Hungarian energy mix in the long term is one of the important principles of the National Energy Strategy adopted by Parliament. Thereby, Hungary can reduce the risk arising from the unilateral energy dependency of Hungary (the currently more than 30% of electricity imports) and can guarantee safe electricity supply at a favourable price at all times, and it will also become possible to reduce the share of conventional energy sources (coal, natural gas and oil), leading to a reduction of energy supply-related greenhouse gas emissions. The use of nuclear energy also significantly contributes to the competitiveness of the national economy through its low production cost.

The fuel of nuclear power plants is uranium. Although its world market price changes from time to time, it is considerably more stable than the price of other energy sources, since its market is characterised by long-term contracts. Due to its small dimensions, it is simple to warehouse a stock of nuclear fuel for up to several years in advance, thus long-term safe fuel supply can be guaranteed.


Schedule for the establishment of the new nuclear power plant units

The pacing of the establishment of the two new nuclear power plant units specifies that before the start of the establishment the site investigation and assessment licence, the environmental license, the Hungarian Energy and Public Utility Regulatory Authority’s permit, the site license and the establishment license – among others – must be acquired. The negotiation and signing of the contractor’s treaty, the contractor’s general and technical plan, checking those plans and the final construction design’s completion must be arranged before the start of the establishment as well.

After issuing the necessary licences, the construction of the two new nuclear power plant units might start.