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Kremlin promises “substantive discussions” on Paks

Recycling

We can now up our expectations for a large-scale agreement between the Hungarian and Russian government with regard to management over expansion of the Paks nuclear power station: The Kremlin itself in an official statement has promised “substantive discussions” on the matter when Prime Minister Viktor Orbán and Russian President Vladimir Putin meet in Moscow today.

Indeed, the Kremlin has quite a bit of invested interest in Hungary’s sole nuclear plant: Its own figures show the Paks facility currently supplies Russia with some 40% of the energy consumed in the country, while Hungary imports about 80% of oil and 75% of natural gas used here.

Sergei Kiriyenko, the loftily-titled State Atomic Energy Corporation Chief with state-owned Rosatom informed national news service Interfax late yesterday that “negotiations with Hungary have reached the active stage,” indicating an evolution of discussions since Chief of Staff János Lázár indicated such a deal was progressing in mid-December.

Should a definitive agreement on Paks be finalized between the parties, the European Union and other authorities may yet levy further criticism at the sitting government. No formal tender for the long-planned expansion to the Paks plant has ever been called, even despite reported recent interest from at least four entities, including US-based Westinghouse.

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