The half of the domestically produced electricity and one-third of the consumed electricity is provided by the currently operating Paks Nuclear Power Plant. However it will shut down between 2032-37 despite its extended lifetime. The two new Paks NPP units will replace the current ones. The security of electricity supply will grow thanks to the new units, since the source of electricity will be domestic.
Hungary needs these two NPP units so with the increasing electricity consumption, the already high share of electricity import (high even from an EU point of view), about 30%, won’t rise further, as we cannot rely on foreign power plants for our national security of supply.
Electricity is always needed: night and day, winter and summer, in every weather condition, and since electricity cannot be stored in an industrial amount, weather-dependent renewables cannot replace the Paks NPP units. Paks II. will provide about 40% of our electricity demand by the end of the century, which means the remaining 60% will have to be covered by other sources, by renewables (e.g. solar energy) and conventional energy sources.
Growing electricity demand
Growing electricity demand
According to current forecasts, the national electricity consumption will rise about 1% per year in the coming period, in order to cover this at a competitive price, the maintenance of performance the Paks Nuclear Power Plant is necessary.
For the competitiveness of the Hungarian economy in the long term, it is essential that the Hungarian population and domestic enterprises receive cheap electricity from a reliable, national source.
Brussels confirmed too: Hungary needs to construct the new NPP units, they will bring back the invested money and will generate profit. The Hungarian government signed the agreement for the realization of Paks II. with strong legal guarantees. The turn-key, fixed price contract means, the investment remains in Hungarian state ownership. The fixed price also means the amount of 12,5 bn EUR of the investment won’t be higher, there can be no deviation.
Nuclear fuel can be stored safely, in a small space in huge amounts, and can be bought from several sources. This means a bigger security than the import of electricity or natural gas. The fuel for electricity is only a small amount (5-10%) of the first cost of NPP electricity generation, thus the cost exposures of fuel is much smaller than for example in the case of gas power plants.
The nuclear power plants contribute to the affordable price of domestic electricity significantly. In Hungary a consumer pays about 35 HUF for 1 kWh of electricity, while in Germany where nuclear power plants are being shut down and green energy is heavily subsidized, this value is nearly three times higher, about 100 HUF.
According to acknowledged international organizations, nuclear power plants cannot be ignored in the fight against climate change. Paks II. prevents more CO2-emission (17 mil tons), than the whole CO2-emission of the domestic transport sector (12 mil tons).
The new Paks NPP units will be of the safest, generation 3+ technology – the project meets even the strictest international requirements. The new units will be „Fukushima-resistant”, they will be inside a double-walled ferroconcrete, hermetic safety building. This robust wall protects the main equipment from external hazards (fire, extreme wind, extreme rain, snow, explosions, aircraft impact, etc.), and prevents radioactive materials released into the environment. The main equipments are built with four times redundancy (the same safety function can be covered by each of the four equipments independently, i.e. there is one operating and three reserve systems), and besides the active safety systems there are passive safety systems, which do not require neither human interaction, nor electricity to function.