USA (bbabo.net), - Nuclear power has become a matter of sovereignty and national security, because without it there is no security of supply to either Europe or Hungary, Hungarian Foreign Minister Peter Szijjarto said Wednesday in Washington.
According to a statement from the Hungarian Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Trade, the minister noted at a US Nuclear Energy Institute (NEI) roundtable that the current unprecedented energy crisis in Europe was caused not only by the war in Ukraine and retaliatory sanctions.
He said it was also demanded by the fact that in recent years the European continent has become “too comfortable”, important investments and infrastructure development have been missed, players have increasingly relied on the spot market instead of long-term contracts, and the green transition has become an “ideological issue”.
Minister Peter Szijjártó called it problematic that the latter, without any justification, is combined with a strong anti-nuclear stance with references to the Chernobyl and Fukushima disasters. However, giving up nuclear power, he says, is like giving up driving because of traffic accidents.
Nuclear power, the Hungarian minister pointed out, makes Europe much more independent, less vulnerable to international energy markets, so this sector has become a matter of sovereignty, without it there is no security of supply, no affordable energy prices and no green transition.
Minister Szijjártó indicated that the Hungarian government was involved in a major debate over whether the European Union should recognize nuclear power as a cheap, safe, sustainable and environmentally friendly way to generate energy and exempt the sector from sanctions against Russia.
While the latter has been repeatedly claimed, services and products needed for nuclear investment have also been lifted from sanctions restrictions, but many institutions and banks in Europe continue to be wary of such operations due to a kind of "overproduction" of sanctions.
Szijjarto said that nuclear energy is included in Hungary's energy mix by 17%, and 45% of the electricity produced in Hungary is generated by the Paks nuclear power plant, which covers 34% of Hungarian electricity consumption.
In addition to the current four power units with a capacity of 500 megawatts, under an agreement signed in 2014 with the Russian Rosatom, by 2030, two VVER-1200 reactors with a total capacity of 2,400 megawatts will be put into operation at Paks NPP. The project, which enjoys strong social support, meets the highest safety standards, he said.
He added that capacity expansion in Hungary is urgently needed as the energy demand of automotive and electric battery companies will increase significantly in the coming years.
Although many critics view the expansion of the Paks NPP as a Russian investment, the turbines will be supplied by the American company General Electric, and the control technologies will be supplied by the French company Framatome and Germany's Siemens.
The nuclear theme in Hungarian Minister Szijjártó's current visit to Washington means that the US is putting pressure on Hungary to withdraw from the contract with Russia's Rosatom to expand the Paks nuclear power plant. The Hungarians, on the other hand, oppose such a decision.