Paks upgrade plans in line with international standards, says government commissioner
Vienna, September 29 (MTI) – The upgrade plans for the Paks nuclear plant comply with Hungarian, European Union and international standards, and feature a number of safety systems, Attila Aszodi, government commissioner for the project, told the Tuesday edition of the Austrian daily Die Presse.
The project’s environmental impact assessment took into account several unlikely but potentially severe effects the plant may have, Aszodi said, adding that the study pertaining to thermal pollution of the Danube found that the plant will not endanger the river’s habitat.
Responding to a question about the Austrian government’s concern about a Russian-type nuclear plant being built near that country, the commissioner said that such statements are “meant for Austrian domestic politics”.
Aszodi said that Austrian officials never expressed such concerns during official meetings about the upgrade. He said there was no merit to claims that the environmental impact assessment did not take into account the possibility of the plant emitting radioactive material into Austria’s territory.
Asked why Hungary is diverting from the EU’s goal of reducing its dependence on Russian energy, Aszodi noted that Austrian and German companies are also collaborating with Russia and that Russia’s state-owned atomic energy company Rosatom has a 34 percent share in the new nuclear plant to be built in Finland.
Aszodi said Hungary is in need of nuclear power to produce electricity because unlike Austria, it does not have access to a sufficient amount of hydropower, and noted that Hungary still has to import a large portion of its electricity.
Aszodi said the plant will operate in line with market practices, without any illegal state aid. He said the European Commission has approved the deal between Hungary and Russia on the project. Russia will include sub-contractors in construction. The tender will soon be called, with companies such as Alstom, Siemens and Rolls-Royce all expressing interest, he said.