Hungary issues license to build the first VVER-1200 reactors in European Union 

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Signalling a first for the European Union, the Hungarian Atomic Energy Authority (OAH) last week issued the license for the construction of two power units with the Russian-designed state-of-the art Generation 3+ VVER-1200 reactors at the Paks II nuclear power plant (NPP) in Hungary.  

According to a release by the Russian state atomic energy corporation Rosatom, whose engineering division Atomstroyexport (ASE) is the project contractor, this is the first time that such a reactor has been issued a construction license in the European Union, 

“The construction license proves that the new nuclear power plant units comply with Hungarian and European safety standards”, a Rosatom statement said. 

The Paks II nuclear power plant (NPP) project is an expansion of the existing Paks NPP, located five kilometres from the small town of Paks, in central Hungary. In January 2014, the governments of Hungary and Russia signed an agreement for the construction of the nuclear plant expansion project. 

Rosatom said it intends to implement the Paks II project with automated active and passive safety systems, including a reinforced concrete containment with a double wall structure. Moreover, the facility will have a core catcher to prevent the release of radioactive substances from the active zone in the extremely unlikely event of a beyond-design accident. 

“The construction license confirms that the project complies with the international and Hungarian safety requirements. It is entirely feasible that Hungary will have two new power units by 2030, thus ensuring the stability of energy supply”, Hungarian Foreign Affairs and Trade Minister, Péter Szijjártó, said in a statement.  

The Paks NPP has four operating reactors of 500 MW capacity each, while the proposed power units 5 and 6 of 1,200 MW each are expected to have a guaranteed lifetime of 60 years, Rosatom said. 

“The construction license for the new power units of the Hungarian NPP demonstrates firm belief in the Russian VVER-1200 technology, which has successfully passed the test of time and proved its safety and reliability. We are confident that the Paks II NPP will guarantee Hungary’s energy sovereignty for almost a century and bring European countries closer to achieving climate goals”, Rosatom Director General Alexey Likhachev said. 

According to Rosatom, preparations for the construction of two units of the Paks II NPP are currently underway at the site with soil reinforcement, preparation for the construction of anti-filtration curtains, and construction of the temporary works area facilities.