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12 May, 2023 05:31

EU will not sanction Russia’s nuclear industry – Hungarian FM

Budapest has threatened to block any sanctions that target the critical power sector
EU will not sanction Russia’s nuclear industry – Hungarian FM

The next round of anti-Russia sanctions currently being debated by EU member states won’t target nuclear energy, according to Hungarian Foreign Minister Peter Szijjarto.

Budapest has repeatedly said it would oppose any attempts to impose restrictions on Russia’s nuclear sector, stressing that other member states that use nuclear energy are also against the proposal.

“Negotiations on the 11th package of sanctions began on Wednesday in Brussels. The proposal of the European Commission for this package does not contain sanctions related to the nuclear industry,” Szijjarto said during a joint press conference with Bulgarian Minister of Energy Rossen Hristov.

The Hungarian foreign minister stressed once again that Budapest would agree to the proposal under no circumstances, adding that it was a decision for individual countries to decide how they get their electricity.

Szijjarto noted that Hungary has been operating its Paks Nuclear Power Plant for more than four decades, adding that it was built in cooperation with the USSR, and that it would continue to use Russian nuclear fuel.

The Paks Nuclear Power Plant produces more than half of the electricity consumed in Hungary.

The Hungarian authorities had previously said the expansion of the Paks infrastructure was seen as crucial to the nation’s energy security. Budapest had previously struck a deal with Moscow to expand the facility.

“We won’t certainly abandon plans to build two new power units in Paks,” as they would guarantee the country’s energy supply in the long term, Szijjarto added.

He also said that Russian nuclear fuel, which used to be delivered by rail through Ukraine, is now being transported to the Paks nuclear power plant by ship across the Black Sea through the Bulgarian port of Varna, and then by rail through the territory of Bulgaria and Romania to Hungary.

“In this regard, Bulgaria is also an important transit country,” Szijjarto said.

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