Election Committee rejects referendum initiatives concerning Paks upgrade
The National Election Committee on Tuesday threw out three referendum initiatives concerning the upgrade of the Paks nuclear plant.
The referendum questions were proposed by co-leaders of the green opposition LMP party Bernadett Szél and Ákos Hadházy.
The first question read: “Do you agree that a new nuclear block should not be built in Hungary before parliament passes legislation concerning the final storage of spent, high radiation fuel rods?” The committee rejected the initiative saying that it would impact an international agreement. They also said it was “misleading” because “it appears to concern storage, while in fact it is aimed at thwarting the upgrade”.
The second question would have read “Do you agree that the combined output of nuclear blocks in Hungary should not exceed 2,000 MW?” The committee again said that the question would be in conflict with an international agreement, adding that it was also misleading, because it suggests that a referendum could thwart the Paks upgrade. The committee noted that a referendum held now would be binding for parliament until 2021, while the planned new blocks at Paks will not be completed until 5 years later.
The third question was aimed at legislation banning the storage of highly radioactive waste in Hungary. The committee said that it would also impact an international agreement because the Hungary-Russia deal on the upgrade project includes provisions for handling fuel rods. They added that a positive referendum would also involve Hungary’s having to negotiate with a third country, which it cannot do on its own under the Euratom Agreement.
The decisions are not binding; the proponents have 15 days to appeal to the supreme court.
As we wrote, the upgrade of Hungary’s sole nuclear power plant in Paks is ineligible for a referendum as it is governed by an international accord, the head of the National Election Committee (NVB) told on June.