Hungary approves plan for Russian company to build two nuclear reactors in the country

Moscow and Budapest inked a deal on the project in 2014

Published: August 26, 2022 5:34pm

Updated: August 26, 2022 5:54pm

As most of Europe struggles through an energy crisis brought on by the Russian invasion of Ukrainian and subsequent western sanctions on the continent's biggest outside supplier, Hungary is moving closer to Moscow to meet its energy needs.

The Hungarian Nuclear Energy Authority granted a construction license to the Russian company Rosatom to build two new nuclear reactors at an existing facility in the country, according to Reuters.

Moscow and Budapest inked a deal on the project in 2014, but a series of delays, not least among them the outbreak of war in Ukraine, which separates the two, have kept the project in limbo.

Hungary currently maintains a nuclear plant in Paks, which was constructed with Russian aid during the Soviet era. The facility currently boasts four reactors and has a capacity of 2-gigawatts, per the outlet, but the construction plan aims to expand its capacity with two Russian-made VVER reactors, each featuring a capacity of 1.2 gigawatts.

The central European state is a member of both the European Union and NATO, but maintains closer ties to Moscow than most of its neighbors. Nuclear energy remains one of the few Russian industries not subject to western sanctions, Reuters observed.

Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor Orban secured a fourth term in April. He and his party have remained staunch allies of Russian President Vladimir Putin. During the campaign, Orban was heavily critical of both the EU and Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky whom he dubbed an "opponent."

Other European countries have sought non-Russian energy sources amid the war, though some, especially Germany, remain dependent on the Eastern European power. Russian energy company Gazprom announced that it would stop the flow of natural gas to Germany from Aug. 30 to Sept. 2 to conduct maintenance, a move that will further exacerbate the nation's energy woes.

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