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PM’s office not suprised by Austria’s objection to Paks

Recycling

The Hungarian Prime Minister’s Office said it was not surprised by Austria’s formal objection to the European Commission yesterday over plans to the upgrade the Paks nuclear power plant, Hungarian news agency MTI reported.

The PMʼs Office said yesterday that Austria’s response to the Paks upgrade is similar to how it reacted to an investment made in the Hinkley Point nuclear power plant in the United Kingdom, whereby it contested in court a decision made by the EC on state aid, MTI reported.

The Austrian government’s key concern regarding the Paks upgrade is that the project received “unacceptable state financing” for a non-sustainable technology, according to MTI. The Austrian government reportedly said it objects to the production of nuclear energy and does not believe that a nuclear power plant could ever be profitable given the many security and safety concerns, namely the effective disposal of nuclear waste.

Austria also expressed its concern that the project could lead to a “distortions on the internal electricity market” and push out players in the sustainable energy sector.

Hungary contracted Russian nuclear firm Rosatom to build two new reactors at the Paks plant for €12.5 billion, with €10 billion in financing provided by the Russian state. The Hungarian government argued that the project complies with the market economic investor principle (MEIP), a key EC criterion for assessing state aid, according to an earlier report from MTI.

In a report issued on January 12, the EC disagreed with the Hungarian governmentʼs assessment saying: “Hungary has not provided sufficient information on whether the investment is profitable on economic terms, taking into account the allocation of risks under the contract, and expectations on future revenues (based on future electricity prices)”.

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