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Orbán, Rosatom CEO discuss Paks development

Prime Minister Viktor Orbán held talks with Alexey Likhachev, CEO of Russiaʼs Rosatom State Atomic Energy Corporation, in the PMʼs swank new offices in the former Carmelite Monastery in Buda Castle on Sunday, says a report on government website kormany.hu.

Orbán (right) meets Likhachev (photo: Károly Árvai/kormany.hu)

At the meeting the parties reviewed the status of the Paks Nuclear Power Plant upgrade project, and discussed further tasks for the future.

Orbán said that the construction of two new nuclear reactors will significantly enhance Hungary’s energy security, and will also contribute to the country’s energy independence and the attainment of climate change goals. The project is therefore fully in harmony with Hungary’s national interests, the PM noted.

Also present at the meeting were János Süli, Hungaryʼs minister without portfolio in charge of the Paks upgrade, and Kirill Komarov, Rosatom First Deputy Director General for Corporate Development and International Business, state news wire MTI reported.

Rosatom is the general contractor for the upgrade of the plant in Paks, southern Hungary, which is being financed in large part by the state of Russia.

In January, it was reported that Hungary was working to modify the financing agreement with Russia for the upgrade of the Paks plant so that it only starts repaying the loan once the two new reactors begin supplying power.

Hungary awarded Rosatom the contract to build additional reactors at the Paks plant in January 2014, but construction has faced long delays, partly because of a European Union review of the project, which also looked into the way it was funded.

After Parliament voted to build new nuclear capacity in 2009, Orbán bypassed an international tender and signed a deal with Russian President Vladimir Putin. The move drew international criticism, especially from the United States, which is concerned about Central and Eastern Europeʼs heavy reliance on Russian energy sources, noted a nytimes.com report in January.