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Tag: Paks II

Szijjártó May Take Charge of Paks II Nuclear Expansion Project

Several energy-related tasks in the new government may soon be transferred to Minister of Foreign Affairs and Trade Péter Szijjártó, 24.hu learned from sources close to the government.

A new Ministry of Construction and Investment has been created that will be run by János Lázár, who is returning to the government after having previously served as Chief of Staff of the Prime Minister’s Office. But the Paks II nuclear power plant investment project may end up being supervised by Péter Szijjártó.

The Foreign Ministry will have a stronger portfolio if it represents energy-related issues at the international level, claimed the site’s sources.

This includes tasks such as international procurement and cooperation with the European Union’s Energy Council, meaning it appears likely that Szijjártó will also handle some of the negotiations and issues connected with EU sanctions.

24.hu asked the Prime Minister’s Press Office for confirmation of the news, but has not yet received a response. [Magyar Hang]

Gov’t Still All-In on Russian-Backed Paks II Nuclear Power Plant Project

“Nuclear power has the biggest potential for us to create our own capacity for energy production, so constructing the next two reactors at the Paks nuclear power plant is in our national economic and security interest,” said Péter Szijjártó after talks in Turkey with representatives of Russian state nuclear power company Rosatom.

Hungary’s Foreign Minister stated that Rosatom representatives “have assured us that they will continue to be technologically capable of carrying out this investment project.”

In a video posted to Facebook, Szijjártó mentioned that the uncertainties around Russian gas and oil supplies justified building the Russian nuclear reactor.

The Foreign Minister also wrote of “self-sufficient energy production” in the Facebook post, despite the fact that Russia will have to continually provide reactor fuel for the next 50-80 years or so. [444]

Russian-backed Paks II project reportedly facing difficulties

picture of construction site

A number of employees working on the Paks II nuclear power plant expansion project for a subcontractor to general contractor Rosatom were allegedly not paid several months’ wages before they were finally let go, reports RTL News.

Workers from Szekszárd approached their Member of Parliament, Tamás Harangozó from MSZP, for help in the matter. One of them claimed that the subcontractor owed them a month and a half of back pay, while another claimed he was due 600,000-700,000 Ft. (US $1,760-$2,052).

They also claim that the Russian-led company sent them on forced leave in March. When they returned, a document terminating the contract by mutual agreement was waiting for them, and those who signed the agreement reportedly did not receive a copy of the contract.

RTL contacted the government for comment, but they were directed to Rosatom’s Hungarian office. Rosatom did not deny the reports to the news channel, acknowledging:

There have been some temporary difficulties of a technical nature, but the Russian general contractor for the project is making a special effort to assist its subcontractors.

It was not mentioned whether or not these technical problems were due to the war and the sanctions imposed on Russia, but the company said that the Paks II project was on schedule.

[444]

Even Fidesz voted to halt Paks II in European Parliament, claims Ujhelyi

picture of European Parliament

“Members of the European Parliament have just voted in the past few minutes on the amendments and details of the EP resolution on aggression against Ukraine,” wrote Socialist MEP István Ujhelyi Facebook yesterday, adding that some of the items were extremely important for Hungary.

The Socialist MEP quotes a part of the resolution that may have an impact on the Paks II nuclear power plant expansion project, which is financed by Russia and led by Russian firm Rosatom:

The European Parliament … calls on the Member States to stop any collaboration with Russia in the nuclear field, in particular cooperation with Rosatom and its subsidiaries, including cooperation with Russia in the International Atomic Energy Agency and the termination or removal of operating licences for all Rosatom subsidiaries.

The resolution also mentions the International Investment Bank, which operates in Budapest and has been called a Russian “spy bank”:

The European Parliament … calls for the Russian-controlled International Investment Bank to be immediately banned from operating in the EU.

Ujhelyi also cites the section on Hungary’s settlement bonds, which have granted EU residence to wealthy individuals:

The European Parliament … calls on the Member States and allied countries with residence by investment schemes to review all beneficiaries of such residence status and to revoke those attributed to Russian high-net-worth individuals and their families, in particular those linked to sanctioned individuals and companies.

The politician claims that Fidesz MEPs voted in favor of all three items, meaning that they supported these sanctions as well.

But Fidesz MEP Tamás Deutsch disputed Ujhelyi’s claim with his own Facebook post, flat out calling the Socialist politician a liar:

Ujhelyi lied this evening in that ‘Fidesz supported stopping Paks2.’ We voted against it. We didn’t support the parts of the resolution that threaten Hungary’s energy security.

Ujhelyi then responded to Deutsch’s post with a photo of the names of those who voted on the entire document, proving that Fidesz MEPs, including Tamás Deutsch, did in fact vote for the EP resolution urging greater sanctions against Russia.

[Index]

Orbán: sanctions against Russia won’t include Paks II

picture of Viktor Orbán being interviewed

In a special interview to state broadcaster M1 Television on Sunday evening, Prime Minister Viktor Orbán said that strategic calm was what was needed when warring conflicts break out. In this regard, we must be careful not to rush to take steps or make demands that have not been completely thought through, he warned.

There is no need to urge Hungary to send weapons to the [warring] region, as we are in a neighboring country, and those with weapons may start shooting at Hungarians. After all, there are also Hungarians who live in the Transcarpathian region, and soldiers who come from there.

-said the Prime Minister.

Meanwhile, the EU has already started to supply weapons to Ukraine, and Germany, Greece, Portugal, and Slovakia are already providing military equipment to assist the Ukrainian resistance.

Viktor Orbán, however, said that the Hungarian army cannot give up any of its arms, and will need every single one of its weapons as it marches to the Eastern border and defend the country’s borders, if necessary. As the Prime Minister put it:

Even if it wanted to, Hungary would not be able to make any of its military equipment available to others.

He also claimed that one did not have to be a nuclear scientist to understand the difference between Ukrainian refugees and masses of people coming here from the faraway Muslim world in hopes of a better life. Those who come from neighboring countries have to be helped, according to Orbán:

So those who come from a long distance go through quite a few safe third countries. They should be cared and helped for there. But where can the poor Ukrainians go? We are their neighbors.

Regarding sanctions, the Prime Minister said that he still didn’t believe in their effectiveness. But now that a war is upon is, this is not the time to be smart but united, which is why the Hungarian government will support any sanctions agreed to by the countries of the EU. Any news to the contrary is disinformation, said Prime Minister Orbán, as well as news of Hungary intending to block the exclusion of Russia from the SWIFT financial system.

However, Orbán said it made no sense to launch sanctions that make Hungary pay the price of war in the end. This means that energy issues and the Paks II nuclear power plant expansion project being carried out with Russian finance and expertise should not be subject to sanctions, believes the Prime Minister.

Orbán also said that the current sanctions package did not affect the gas agreement with Russia and the government’s utility price cut policy.

In addition, Viktor Orbán complained that no aid was forthcoming from Brussels to care for the wave of refugees. He also had a few sharp words for the Hungarian left-wing, but never once uttered Vladimir Putin’s name.

[444]

Orbán and Russians hope to get Paks II going by 2029

picture of Paks Power Plant

Prime Minister Viktor Orbán welcomed Alexey Likhachev, Director General of the Russian state nuclear energy group ROSATOM, at the Carmelite Monastery, said Bertalan Havasi, press aide from the Prime Minister’s Office, to state news agency MTI. The meeting was attended by Péter Szijjártó, Minister of Foreign Affairs and Trade, and János Süli, minister responsible for the Paks II expansion project.

The participants agreed that the two new units under construction at the Paks Nuclear Power Plant by the Russian concern will ensure that cheap, climate-friendly electricity will be available from domestic sources in the coming decades.

At a time when Europe is facing a utility crisis, it is especially important that nuclear energy play an important role not only in guaranteeing supply but also in creating price stability and maintaining Hungary’s utility price cuts, they stated.

It was also discussed at the meeting that more and more EU countries are recognizing that, in addition to renewable energy sources, nuclear energy needs to play an important part in long-term plans to protect against the worst effects of climate change.

The Hungarian and Russian sides also reviewed the status of Paks II. The participants are working to ensure that the investment project is being carried out in accordance with the strictest Hungarian and international regulations and safety requirements, and are hoping to inaugurate the two new units in Paks in 2029 and 2030, the press chief said.

[Magyar Hang]