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Brussels clears draft decree to speed up Paks II groundwork

The European Commission has approved a draft of an amendment of a government decree on the groundwork for the upgrade of the Paks nuclear power plant, János Süli, the minister without portfolio in charge of the project, told Hungarian news agency MTI on Thursday.

The amendment to the decree is intended to allow the groundwork to start earlier, ensuring the conditions for continuous work at the site, Süli said.

The amendment does not modify regulations or requirements, nor does it affect the rights of oversight authorities, he added.

Hungary is building two more blocks at the Paks plant, the countryʼs only source of commercial nuclear power.

Süli said the groundwork could start early in 2021, ahead of the application for the implementation license.

The application for the implementation license will be submitted by June 30, 2020, and three months later, the application for the start of the groundwork may be submitted, he explained. If the technical plan is without fault, the groundwork can start after a three-month evaluation period, he added.

Paks II expects to get the construction license for the main building in September 2021.

The groundwork will involve moving about 8 million cubic meters of earth, construction of a 2,570 slurry wall, and reinforcement of the entire area, which will take 18-26 months, Süli said.