19.11.2015_No214 / News

EC Launches Infringement Procedure Against Hungary Over Paks 2 Contract For Russia

Plans & Construction

19 Nov (NucNet): The European Commission has launched an infringement procedure against Hungary concerning the implementation of the Paks 2 nuclear power station project and the award of a construction contract for the planned facility to Russia.

The Paks nuclear power station in Hungary.

Following exchanges of information with the Hungarian authorities and “a thorough assessment” of the terms of the award, the EC said it still has concerns regarding the compatibility of the project with EU public procurement rules.

The Hungarian government awarded the construction of two new reactors and the refurbishment of two additional reactors at Paks “without a transparent procedure”, the EC said. The EC said it considers that the direct award of the Paks 2 nuclear power plant project does not comply with EU legislation on public procurement.

The EC has sent a letter of formal notice to Hungary, which constitutes an official request for information and is the first step in an infringement procedure. The Hungarian authorities have two months to respond.

In September Russia’s Atomproekt, a subsidiary of state-owned nuclear energy corporation Rosatom, signed a contract to carry out engineering studies and prepare all project documentation for the planned Paks 2. The agreement guarantees Atomproekt a role as general project developer, Rosatom said.

In June 2014, the Hungarian Parliament approved a €10bn ($10.7bn) loan agreement with Russia for the financing of the two new VVER-1200 nuclear units. Hungary has four VVER-440 nuclear units in commercial operation at Paks, which are supplied with nuclear fuel from Russia.

Earlier this year, the EC approved an agreement between Hungary and Russia for supplies of nuclear fuel for the planned plant. And at Paks-3 modifications were begun in October 2014 to allow the use of a new, second-generation nuclear fuel design delivered by Rosatom’s fuel division TVEL, Rosatom said.

Attila Aszódi, the government commissioner responsible for Paks 2, was said to have told reporters in Budapest this week that a site licence is expected to be issued in 2016, with a construction permit to follow in 2017.

According to Reuters, Mr Aszódi said: “Construction would start in 2018 and assuming about six years, we can get the fifth block online by the end of 2023 or the start of 2024. We expect the blocks to start commercial operation in 2025 and 2026.”

A statement from the Hungarian prime minister’s office said that throughout preparations for the Paks 2 project, the government had respected all relevant and existing national, EU and international law.

“Hungary has provided extensive and detailed information to the European Commission regarding every question it raised and will continue to do so in the future. Hungary’s position is that both the Hungarian-Russian intergovernmental agreement and the engineering, procurement and construction contract comply with the EU regulation on public procurement procedures,” the statement said.

Related reports in the NucNet database (available to subscribers):

  • Russia’s Atomproekt Signs Contract For Hungary’s Paks 2 Project Development (News in Brief No.187, 22 September 2015)




David Dalton

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