The Hungarian parliament has given the go-ahead for a financing deal with Russia aimed at providing two new nuclear reactors for the country. The move has taken place without European Union approval.

As well as bypassing Brussels, there was no open tender for the expansion of the plant. The vote to approve has come in for heavy criticism from opposition parties who say that the loan would boost the country’s already high public debt, and that the deal increases Hungary‘s energy dependency on Russia.
Flag of Hungary
Because of the failure to provide an open tender for the project, the European Commission is in the process of examining public procurement issues in Hungary.

The EU won’t give any hints on the timing of its assessment on compatibility with EU rules, and it is in “discussions with the Hungarian authorities in order to establish more precisely the scope of possible problems and, if needed, to find adequate solutions,” the Internal Market and Services Directorate General said in an email to The Wall Street Journal.

Under the deal, Russian state-owned nuclear firm Rosatom will build a 2000 MW addition to Hungary’s state-owned nuclear power plant MVM Paksi Atomeromu. Hungary is entitled to use the financing until 2025, at an annual interest rate of between 4.50 per cent and 4.95 per cent depending on the year of repayment.

It is estimated that preparations and the permitting process may take up to four years and actual construction can only start after that.

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