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Rosatom Wants to Revamp Hungarian Plant

Part of a VVER 1000 nuclear reactor — the model Rosatom is expected to market to Hungary for its Paks power plant — being installed at the Balakovo nuclear power plant in the Saratov region.

BUDAPEST — Rosatom is keen to expand Hungary's Paks nuclear power plant, including construction and financing of new power blocks, a top Rosatom official said, business daily Napi Gazdasag reported Tuesday.

Rosatom would be willing to fully finance the new construction, which is expected to cost about 3 trillion forints ($12.4 billion), the paper cited Rosatom deputy director general Kirill Komarov as saying at Atomexpo, a nuclear power trade fair in Moscow.

Hungary needs big, new electric plants to augment an aging fleet of power stations, and the government is expected to issue the construction tender this year for up to 3,000 megawatts in new nuclear power capacity at the Paks site.

The current plant at Paks, 100 kilometers south of Budapest, uses four Russian-made VVER reactors. It has a total capacity of 2,000 megawatts and produces about 40 percent of the country's electricity.

Paks chief executive Istvan Hamvas told Hungarian state news agency MTI in Moscow that he expects at least five participants at the upcoming tender, including Rosatom, France's Areva, Westinghouse Electric and Japanese and South Korean competitors.

Because the basic technical parameters have already been set, Hamvas expects Westinghouse to tout its AP 1000 reactor, Rosatom its VVER 1000 model and Areva its 1,600 megawatt EPR reactor or its smaller Atmea reactor, developed in tandem with Japan's Mitsubishi.

Westinghouse and Areva did not immediately reply to requests seeking comment.

The Paks reactors, built in the 1980s, are undergoing life-span-extension projects and are expected to stay operational until the 2030s.

The new nuclear blocks should come online between 2020 and 2030, increasing the country's reliance on nuclear power to 60 percent of the electricity mix.

Last week, the government created a committee to prepare strategic decisions for the construction, which is headed by Prime Minister Viktor Orban.

Rosatom, through its subsidiary TVEL, is the fuel supplier for Hungary's existing four Russian-made nuclear power blocks and has participated in their maintenance as well.

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