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Paks deal could become confidential for 30 years

Certain business and technical data connected with the planned expansion of Hungary’s sole nuclear power plant in Paks could remain classified for 30 years, extending the previously announced 15 years of secrecy. 

Cabinet Chief János Lázár told Hungarian online daily index.hu that the data is being made confidential for 30 years in accordance with the current Hungarian laws. Hungarian news agency MTI said that the proposal sparked a “sharp debate” in the Hungarian parliament on Friday.

The proposal harshly criticized by the opposition affects business and technical data in contracts signed between selected Russian and Hungarian organizations and subcontractors, the implementation agreements, and data that formed the basis of decisions during the preparation of the agreement.

According to ruling Fidesz party, as the Paks expansion serves energy security, keeping documents confidential serves Hungary's national security. The amendment extended the period of confidentiality from 15 years, already up from the standard 10 years, in the original bill, submitted to Parliament at the beginning of December, MTI noted.

Parliament recently began discussing the bill, which would also state that contracts related to the expansion of the Paks nuclear power plant would not fall under the public procurement law. The bill also proposes amendments to the law on nuclear energy, updating licensing, technical and security regulations and detailing regulations on radioactive waste, among others.