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95% of damaged fuel rods removed from Paks

About 95% of fuel rods damaged in an incident in 2003 have been removed so far from the Paks Nuclear Power Plant, CEO József Kovács said on Wednesday.

5,508 kilograms of rods have been removed from the plant so far, Kovács said. All of the rods are expected to be removed by Christmas. The rods were damaged in April 2003 when they overheated in a cleaning tank adjacent to the plant's number two reactor. The incident was blamed on the tank's manufacturers, the French and German company Framatome-ANP, which agreed to pay compensation.

TVEL of Russia was picked to clean up the damaged rods and cleaning tank at a reported cost of $4.5 million. When asked earlier, however, Kovács said the cost of the project could reach Ft 2 billion, about twice the originally planned amount. State secretary at the Ministry of Economics and Transportation Ábel Garamhegyi said on Wednesday the ministry would give the order to restart the number two block, which was shut down after the incident, as soon as Paks' management ensures it is safe. (Mti-Eco)