EU greenlights Hungary’s Kremlin-backed nuclear station

  • Elisabeth Gheorghe
  • 8.3.2017 09:26

The European Union has cleared Hungary to build two additional reactors in its Paks nuclear plant with the help of Russia's Rosatom on 6 March, approving a venture that will likely extend Kremlin's sway over Hungarian energy policy, which currently features a Gazprom gas deal. Hungary signed the €12bn deal that includes a €10bn loan with Russia in 2014.

Safeguarding its operator from over-compensation or gaining an unfair advantage, Paks remains under Hungarian state ownership and operation. It currently generates over half of Hungary’s energy output with four Soviet-built VVER 440 reactors and a coalesced capacity of 2000 megawatt - set to be decommissioned between 2023 and 2037.

Coveting a referendum, Green liberal opposition party LMP held the deal was covert, exposing to Russian influence. Fostering Kremlin interests, Hungary has lobbied to scrap levied sanctions over Russia’s 2014 Crimea annexation. Although Romania's Black Sea gas deposits could curb Europe's Russian gas reliance, the move conveys continued Russian presence in European energy policy.

About author: Elisabeth Gheorghe

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