France could squeeze Russia out of Hungary’s Paks NPP

France and Hungary have begun talks on nuclear energy cooperation, which could lead to the termination of a deal with Russia to expand a single Hungarian nuclear power plant, the Financial Times reports. The €12 billion project is currently led by Russia’s Rosatom.

On 9 February in Brussels, President Volodymyr Zelensky called on EU countries to impose sanctions against the Russian nuclear industry.

“Russia has created a threat of radiation disaster in Europe, and the Russian nuclear industry is still free of global sanctions. There are steps yet to come”

He recalled that thanks to the sanctions already in place, Russian energy will never again be a weapon against Europe.

Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor Orban said that his country would veto the EU sanctions against Russia concerning nuclear energy. Hungary’s Paks nuclear power plant has four small Russian VVER-440 reactors with a total capacity of about 2,000 MW. It produces about half of its electricity and the plant gets its nuclear fuel from Russia. The 2014 agreement with the Russian Federation envisages the expansion of the Paks NPP with two Russian-made VVER reactors of 1.2 GW each.

A veto was also declared by Bulgaria. Bulgaria’s Kozloduy NPP has two VVER-1000-type reactors, fuel for which is supplied by Rosatom’s unit. The plant provides about 37% of the country’s total electricity production.

France has also spoken out against the nuclear sanctions. A representative of the French Ministry of Economy told reporters that “many nuclear power plants use fuel from the Russian energy sector.

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