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It's official: Rosatom backs plans to double Paks capacity

Hungary's sole nuclear power plant in Paks will be expanded by Russia's state-owned Rosatom, while the financing will also come from a credit line from Russia, ending speculation about the identity of the implementing party.

The agreement signed by National Development Minister Zsuzsa Németh and Rosatom chairman Sergey Kiriyenko in the presence of President Vladimir Putin and Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor Orbán is expected to double the Paks facility’s 2 gigawatt capacity.

Orbán hailed the deal as an “excellent professional agreement,” adding that the extent of the Russian credit for the venture would be no more than €10 billion, although the details have yet to be finalized. The exact costs of the project are currently unknown. Kiriyenko noted that it would take further extensive preparatory works to finalize the ultimate tally.

The Russians will provide a 30-year inter-government loan for the project, and the first new block could start operating in 2023, state secretary János Lázár told reporters.

Orbán received extensive criticism at home for the deal. The socialist party MSzP said the prime minister had no mandate to make a commitment of such significance, while green-centric LMP party co-chairman András Schiffer remarked that “The government calling itself a patriotic freedom fighter is currently busy selling out its country in Russia.”

The Paks facility provides approximately 40% of Hungary’s annual electricity consumption.