Talks with Russia on nuclear energy cooperation “in advanced stage”
Talks are in advanced stage between the Hungarian government and Russia on extending cooperation in nuclear energy, the head of the prime minister’s office, János Lázár, said on Tuesday.
The price of electricity is one of the hardest issues in Hungary because it influences economic competitiveness, Lázár told national news service MTI after a meeting of parliament’s economic and information technology committee which was boycotted by opposition MPs.
“Affordable electricity is a must for Hungarian voters, Hungarian citizens and households, and from the point of the Hungarian economy it is just as important what electricity we can provide and at what price,” Lázár said.
The Paks nuclear power station is an unavoidable subject in this context, he said, adding that parliament had instructed the government back in 2009 to prepare for the power station’s expansion.
The current blocks of the power station are scheduled to be decommissioned in 2037, so consultations have been started on future options at professional level and at state level with Russia, further stating that if the government does not make a move now, the power station will stop working after that time, “the utility fee cut will be unviable and the Hungarian economy will lose its chance to have inexpensive electricity.”
“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. “So I would like to inform parliament through the economic committee that talks are under way between the Hungarian government and Russia in several subjects regarding the future of the Paks nuclear power station.”
Maintaining capacities is an area where the government and Russia are close to reaching an agreement. The next step will be to sign an inter-state contract that will need to be approved by parliament, Lázár said.
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