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The nuclear energy sector may remain relatively exempt from “overly ideological, emotional debates, and the sector is an intact sliver of East-West cooperation,” Foreign Minister Péter Szijjártó said in Washington, DC, on Wednesday.
Speaking ahead of a ministerial meeting of the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA), Szijjártó said the countries able to generate the energy they consume will be positioned best to weather the energy crisis caused by the Russia-Ukraine war and “botched sanctions”. Hungary’s best chance to do so is using nuclear energy, by a much-needed upgrade of the Paks nuclear plant, which will boost its performance to 4,400 MW from the current 2,000 MW, he said. Szijjártó insisted that Hungary had fought to eliminate “discrimination” against nuclear energy in the EU in recent years. As a result, the Paks investment will not be restricted “in any way”, he said. The upgrade is a “truly international” project, with Russian Rosatom at the helm, and suppliers such as the US’s General Electric, French Framatome and German Siemens, he added. Nuclear energy is cheap, safe and environment-friendly, and the two new blocks in Paks are expected to prevent the emission of 17 million tonnes of carbon dioxide every year, he said.