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Paks Nuclear power plant starts stress tests

Hungary's sole nuclear power station in Paks is starting a series of stress tests in line with the expectations of the European Council, director Istvan Hamvas said.

The blocks will not undergo actual tests but analytical reports will be prepared on the tolerance level of the blocks to external effects and ways to protect them from the effects of extreme events,  Hamvas said.

The Paks Nuclear Power Station has received a letter from the nuclear authority that specifies exactly what circumstances need to be assessed. These include an earthquake, extreme weather conditions and the extreme low water level in the River Danube, Hamvas said.

The power station's experts will assess possible responses to such situations, and will make proposals on measures that can prevent a situation similar to the Fukushima nuclear power station incident in Japan in the wake of an earthquake.

Paks can only maintain operations if it fulfils all requirements set by the National Nuclear Energy Office's Nuclear Safety Directorate,  Hamvas said. This is reviewed once every ten years, he added.

The requirements of the stress tests have been prepared in line with the recommendations of the Western European Nuclear Regulators' Association (WENRA). After an assessment of the test results has been completed, the authority will state by the end of this year if Paks is expected to implement further measures.