22 January 2014
Russian nuclear power company Rosatom has agreed to fund the expansion of Hungary’s only nuclear power plant to more than double its capacity.
The agreement was made between Russian president Vladimir Putin and visiting Hungarian prime minister Viktor Orban on the project at Paks, in central Hungary, which already runs four Russian-made reactors built in the 1980s.
The construction project will be the biggest in Hungary’s post-Communist history, according to a report by Reuters.
Hungary relies on Russia for most of its gas and oil imports, and the Paks nuclear plant supplies about 40% of its electricity.
Hungary’s Paks nuclear plant now supplies about 40% of the country’s electricity (Wikimedia Commons)
Russia’s state atomic agency head, Sergey Kirienko, said Moscow was ready to lend Hungary up to $13.65bn for the construction of two new units – a sum that will cover most of the costs.
The expansion is expected to be a controversial topic ahead of Hungarian parliamentary elections in April or May this year, with opposition parties saying the deal makes Hungary over-reliant on Russia for energy.
The new blocks are not expected to come on line before 2023.