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Hungary, Russia find new route for fuel supplies to NPP via Bulgaria, says ministry

The Paks NPP provides half of all generated and one third of consumed electricity in Hungary

BUDAPEST, January 16. /TASS/. Hungary and Russia have found a new route to supply nuclear fuel to the Paks nuclear power plant (NPP) via Bulgaria and Romania, bypassing Ukraine, Hungarian Minister of Foreign Affairs and Trade Peter Szijjarto told a press conference in Sofia on Monday as broadcast on his Facebook page (banned in Russia as it is owned by Meta Corporation designated as extremist by the Russian authorities), following a meeting with his Bulgarian counterpart Nikolay Milkov.

The supply of Russian fuel to the Paks station by rail through the Ukrainian territory became impossible in 2022 due to the conflict in Ukraine, Szijjarto noted, adding that several times, fuel was transported there by plane through the airspace of Belarus, Poland and Slovakia with the permission of the EU’s leadership, which made an exception to its bans. Eventually, "a new route was found to carry nuclear fuel from Russia to Hungary via Bulgaria and Romania," the minister said. "Since last December, nuclear fuel necessary for the work of the nuclear power plant in Hungary has been quickly delivered from Russia via Bulgaria and Romania by rail," he noted. Fuel is carried from Russia to Bulgaria on board a cargo vessel via the Black Sea.

The Paks NPP provides half of all generated and one third of consumed electricity in Hungary. At present, four power units with VVER-440 reactors operate at the station built about 100 kilometers south of Budapest on the banks of the Danube using Soviet technologies. At present, preparations are underway for the construction of two new power units designed by Rosatom. Concurrently, preparations are underway for the construction of second stage facilities as part of a project by Rosatom. As Szijjarto said earlier, Moscow confirmed its readiness to finance this project, which is estimated at 12.5 billion euros and which from the very start was supposed to be 80% financed by a Russian loan. The Hungarian government expects that two new VVER-1200 nuclear reactors will be commissioned by 2030 and after that, the plant's capacity will increase from its current levels of 2,000 MW to 4,400 MW.