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Austria to sue European Commission for approving Hungarian nuclear plant expansion

EBR Staff Writer Published 23 January 2018

Austria has revealed its intentions of filing a lawsuit against the European Commission (EC) for approving the expansion of the 1889MW Paks nuclear plant in neighboring Hungary.

The country has been strongly against nuclear power for several decades.

Austria, which is hugely upset with the EC ruling, stated that it does not see nuclear energy as an answer for tackling climate change.

A spokesman for Austrian Sustainability Minister Elisabeth Koestinger was quoted by Express.co.uk as saying: “We in the government have agreed that there are sufficient reasons to sue the Commission.

"EU assistance is only permissible when it is built on common interest. For us, nuclear energy is neither a sustainable form of energy supply, nor is it an answer to climate change."

In March 2017, Hungary’s plan to construct two new nuclear reactors at the Paks atomic site in the central part of the country was approved by EU regulators. The approval was given after an agreement from Hungarian authorities to implement various measures to ensure fair competition, reported Reuters.

The new reactors, each of 1,200MW capacity, which will be built with the help of Russian energy company Rosatom, are expected to more than double the capacity of the Paks atomic plant.

Hungary is looking to begin construction on the nuclear reactors this year. The first of the reactors is slated to be completed in 2025.

Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor Orban’s office revealed that Austria’s lawsuit would not impact work on the expansion project at the Paks nuclear plant.

Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor Orban’s office was quoted by Reuters as saying: “The Paks nuclear plant is the guarantee for providing a cheap, reliable and safe supply of electricity to Hungarian people and businesses.

“Therefore, the Hungarian government will stick to its plan to ensure the maintenance of capacity at the Paks plant.”

Commissioned in 1982 after 15 years of construction, the Paks nuclear power plant is owned by state-controlled MVM Group. It has four nuclear reactors in operation, with one reactor of 470MW capacity and three other reactors having a capacity of 473MW each.

Image: The Paks Nuclear Power Plant in Hungary. Photo: courtesy of Barna Rovács (Rovibroni)/Wikipedia.org.