Nuclear Summit: nuclear energy is the solution

3/21/24 3:21 PM
Nuclear energy is the clear solution to today's energy security challenges – the Hungarian Prime Minister said at the first Nuclear Summit.

Speaking at the Nuclear Energy Summit 2024 in Brussels, Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor Orbán said that the challenge we face today, makes the energy security an increasingly urgent issue. The question we need to answer is how to generate large amounts of electricity in an environmentally friendly and safe way. The answer is clear: only nuclear energy meets these criteria currently – said the Hungarian Prime Minister.

Viktor Orbán said that Hungary has been using nuclear power for almost fifty years, which has provided a stable basis for the country's energy security. The existing Paks NPP supplies almost half of the electricity generated in Hungary. – On the basis of this experience, we have decided not only to maintain, but also to further increase our nuclear power generation – he emphasized.

As he explained, the two new NPP units will be connected to the grid at the start of the next decade. As a result of this 2400 MW expansion, the share of domestic nuclear capacity in electricity generation will increase to 70%. This will help reduce natural gas imports and carbon dioxide emissions.

The Prime Minister also highlighted that despite the geopolitical challenges, nuclear energy is still characterized by international cooperation: research is ongoing, Russia was the largest supplier of uranium to the United States last year, and the Paks II. project involves US, French, German, Swiss, Swedish and even Austrian subcontractors in addition to the Russian Contractor.

Ursula von der Leyen, President of the European Commission, also spoke in favour of the importance of nuclear energy.  She said that nuclear energy is also important for competitiveness, energy security, the transition to clean energy and the level of electricity prices, as it is the second most important source of low-emission electricity after hydroelectricity.

It was said that nuclear energy is still the largest source for electricity generation in the European Union, with a current share of 22%. The European Commission also expects that nuclear will predominantly complement renewables and form the backbone of the EU’s electricity generation by 2050.

For change to happen, Ursula von der Leyen said the most important thing is to secure new investments, which she believes governments should support.  The Commission President highlighted the need and urgency to extend the operating lifetime of existing nuclear power plants and to support innovation, especially in case of small modular reactors.