The role of nuclear energy has become more important

3/30/20 10:29 AM
For our supply security, we have to produce more electricity here in Hungary – said minister János Süli.

– We live in extraordinary times, needing discipline and composure. Most importantly, everyone should take care of themselves and everyone around them, especially the elderly and those who have a chronic illness. Responsible behavior – and I’m not exaggerating – can save lives now. There is no place for hostility now, we have to take measures for the protection against coronavirus, preservation of human health, and protection of human life. Let's be calm. Do not panic or spread fake news. Rely on information from a secure source. Be disciplined, follow official instructions. Contact with others as little as possible. Whoever can do it, stay home – said János Süli.

The minister added: however, there are some who cannot do this because their work, even in this situation, is essential, stationary and cannot be done via home office. These include, but are not limited to, those working in the health and social care, trade and energy sectors. – Many thanks for their selfless work – he said.
He highlighted that the Paks Nuclear Power Plant also has the experts in charge of the smooth operation. Thanks to them, 50% of domestic production is guaranteed. The nuclear power plant is the largest domestic power generator. The electricity generated at Paks covers one third of the domestic consumption, which represents the total demand of the population. It means, the nuclear power plant is capable of providing the entire Hungarian population with the electricity needed for everyday life. This is of strategic importance in these difficult times. Another important fact is that the nuclear power plant always has enough fuel for two years, as required by law. Nuclear fuel can be stored safely, well stocked, in a small space, and can be obtained from multiple sources when needed. This is much more secure than importing either electricity or natural gas. In addition, fuel represents only a very small part, 5 to 10% of the cost of generating electricity at a nuclear power plant, so the exposure to price fluctuations is much lower compared to other power plants, such as gas-fired power plants.

This difficult period – as emphasized by János Süli – sheds light on Paks II. project. – We are planning the construction of two modern nuclear power plant units and we are working on the preparation. Our aim is to maintain the share of nuclear energy in domestic production. The four existing units will be phased out between 2032-37. Two new units will replace them. In this way, we can guarantee supply security and, as in the current difficult situation, the availability of electricity. The fact that our country is highly dependent on electricity imports – almost the highest in the European Union – can now be seen as a real threat when countries are forced to close their borders. Today, one third of our electricity needs are met by purchasing electricity, typically from fossil fuel power plants in the surrounding countries. The supply security of Hungary cannot be based on foreign power plants, therefore the Paks II. investment is of key importance.

But it was not only because of the reduction in import dependency that the Paks II. became now more important, underlined the Minister. – We already know – he added – that the coronavirus epidemic will put the economy in serious trouble. Thousands are losing their jobs, their income. Recognizing this, the government has already taken several of measures. Nonetheless, restoring the economy will be a daunting task. A major investment, such as the construction of two nuclear power plant units, could save many Hungarian businesses and provide livelihood for many Hungarian people. The project will employ 8-10 thousand people during peak hours. There are a lot of related construction projects: roads, flats, factory halls need to be built, and the workers coming here provide jobs for the service sector. It all means income, livelihood.

At Paks II. Ltd. the continuity of the work is ensured even during an emergency. A few weeks ago, the company's new IT system was put into operation. This gives employees the opportunity to work from home. Paks II. Ltd. through its internal information channels, informs its employees from the very first minute about the actions necessary to prevent infection. Meetings that require a personal presence are conducted under strict hygiene rules. The construction of the CEB facilities has not stopped, and we have also taken all necessary steps to protect the health of those working there.