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New minister to be assigned to oversee Paks upgrade

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The upgrade of Hungary’s sole nuclear power plant in Paks will be assigned a minister without portfolio, who will be appointed in the coming days to oversee and manage the project, Prime Minister Viktor Orbán said in Parliament on Monday. 

Currently, a government commissioner is in charge of the project in the person of Attila Aszódi, former director of the Nuclear Technology Institute at Budapest University of Technology and Economics, Hungarian news agency MTI noted. Aszódi was appointed in the summer of 2014.

Hungarian online news portal index.hu remarked that the announcement of the appointment of a minister to the role was slightly odd, as Orbán appeared on the portal’s footage to have only mentioned it as an afterthought.

Orbán was answering questions from Bernadett Szél, co-chair of the opposition green party LMP, regarding the upgrade that is often referred to as Paks 2. Orbán had finished the second round of answers to the co-chair, whose party has opposed the nuclear upgrade while backing renewable energy, and his microphone had already been turned off when he asked to speak again. “I forgot to mention that in the next few days I will appoint a minister without portfolio for controlling and leading the Paks investment,” Orbán said once his microphone had been switched on again.

According to unnamed sources of government-friendly online news portal origo.hu, Paks Mayor János Süli looks likely to be appointed to the ministerial role.

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