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President appoints minister for Paks upgrade

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President János Áder on Wednesday appointed the mayor of Paks, János Süli, Hungaryʼs new minister without portfolio in charge of the upgrade of the Paks Nuclear Power Plant, Hungarian news agency MTI reported.

Süli, an engineer by training who worked at the Paks plant for more than 30 years and was its CEO in 2009-2010, will coordinate and implement decisions on the upgrade based on bilateral agreements between the states of Hungary and Russia.

The state of Russia is financing most of the cost of building two more reactors at Paks, Hungaryʼs only commercial nuclear power plant, through a EUR 10 billion loan.

Earlier, a government commissioner, Attila Aszódi, the former director of the Nuclear Technology Institute of Budapest University of Technology and Economics, was in charge of the project. Aszódi was appointed in the summer of 2014.

The European Commission cleared state support for the Paks upgrade in March on the basis of commitments made by Hungary to limit distortions of competition.

Earlier in March, it was reported that Hungary’s green party LMP (Politics Can Be Different) would be initiating a referendum on the Paks expansion.

The opposition party reported on its website Tuesday that it has submitted two fresh questions on the Paks upgrade to the National Election Commission (NVB), bringing to 13 the total number of referendum questions it has initiated; the 11 questions submitted so far have been rejected by the NVB, while the two new questions will be considered by the body in due course.

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