However, fuels from a new, alternative, different manufacturer can get the green light at the Paks nuclear power plant – Hvg.hu noted in the text of the resolution proposal submitted by Energy Minister Csaba Lantos last week. The proposal will be discussed by the Parliament on Tuesday.
According to the document, “it is not possible to meet the growing electricity consumption purely on a natural gas and other fossil basis, or with power plants using purely renewable sources: stable, domestic electricity production is needed in power plants that operate safely and reliably as basic power plants, and are produced domestically and cost-effectively the energy”. The text then goes on to say:
“it is a new circumstance that the nuclear power plant may use additional fuel from a new, alternative, different manufacturer, especially during its extended operating time”.
Viktor Orbán is said to have mentioned at the closed meeting in Kotc, held at the beginning of September, that the Paks nuclear power plant will be able to operate with French fuel instead of Russian. A few weeks later, Gergely Gulyás was asked whether the switch to French fuel would apply to the already existing Paks I or only to the newly built Paks II, but the minister only called the matter a “technical issue”. Later, the Prime Minister’s Office clarified that there will still be Russian heating elements in the current nuclear block in Paks. However, this did not preclude the possibility of a French company appearing as an alternative supplier of heating elements in the longer term.
One month later, Viktor Orbán skipped the European Union summit on Israel and traveled to Beijing as the only EU politician for the “One Belt, One Road” forum, where he also met with Russian President Vladimir Putin. After the meeting, the Russian president’s statements were given two interpretations: it implies that Orbán is a reliable partner, but also that Moscow has taken note of the Hungarian prime minister’s limited room for maneuver, and it has once again emerged that Hungary is trying to narrow its relations with the Russians in energy matters.
The next step of this could be the resolution proposal submitted by Csaba Lantos, in which the following sentence is included:
“It is a new circumstance that the nuclear power plant may also use new, alternative fuel from a different manufacturer, especially during its extended operating time.”
Such a “different manufacturer” could be the French Framatome, with which, according to Hvg.hu, the government already signed a cooperation agreement in September, which included the supply of fuel, related nuclear materials and long-term operation.
Framatome is already well-known in the Paks nuclear power plant anyway, instead of the German Siemens, they eventually joined – with Russian consent – Paks II. as the supplier of its control systems for the project.
This is not the only point that the government proposes to change compared to the original decision of 2015: the current text states that the power plant can start operating at the end of the 2020s and can operate until the end of the 2080s. This would now be changed by the government to a start date of 2030, with the new blocks operating until the early 2090s.