Orbán to Moscow, Paks nuclear plant deal expected

Recycling

Prime Minister Viktor Orbán will be in Moscow tomorrow; it is widely anticipated that nuclear-energy issues will be high on the agenda and finalization of an agreement for Russian participation in expansion of the Paks nuclear power plant is expected to be announced.

While the PM’s spokesman Bertalan Havasi gave no details when announcing the official visit in cut-and-dried fashion, but an unnamed source within the government confirmed to Reuters news service that “the prime minister is going to visit Moscow and an agreement on nuclear energy will probably be signed.”

On Saturday, daily news outlet Népszabadság came to the natural conclusion that said agreement would involve the state-owned Rosatom funding construction of new blocks at the Paks nuclear plant, a move both previous and current governments have been attempting to get started since at least 2009. Such construction could run up costs up HUF 4 trillion (approximately €13.386 billion), and Népszabadság figures Rosatom would provide starting capital.

Orbán’s Chief of Staff János Lázár formerly announced such a deal was in the works in mid-December. “In line with parliament’s authorization, talks are directed at maintaining capacities, which is why we have started the relevant negotiations with Russia,” Lázár said at that time. “Talks are underway between the Hungarian government and Russia on several subjects regarding the future of the Paks nuclear power station.”

As part of the sitting government’s “battle against utility prices,” Lázár has been among those pushing for a greater proportion of nuclear energy to be used in Hungary.

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