The Hungarian National Atomic Energy Office (OAH) has extended the operating licence unit 3 at the Paks NPP by 20 years until 2036, state news agency MTI has reported.

The operating licence of Paks 3, commissioned in 1986, was set to expire on 31 December 2016. OAH has also received an application to extend the operating licence of unit 4 for another 20 years, until 31 December 2037. Units 1 and 2, which have already been granted 20-year licence extensions, will operate until 2032 and 2034, respectively. Paks comprises four Russian-supplied VVER-440 pressurised water reactors, which started up between 1982 and 1987. The plant provide s one-third of Hungary's electricity.

Under an inter-governmental agreement signed in early 2014 Russian enterprises and their international sub-contractors are to supply two new VVER-1200 reactors at Paks (Paks II) as well as a Russian state loan of up to €10bn ($11.2bn) to finance 80% of the project. The European Commission last year cleared Hungary's award of the contract to Russian state nuclear corporation Rosatom to build the two units. It examined two matters – procurement and whether funding for the project constitutes state aid. On 17 November, it closed the infringement procedure over public procurement rules but is still investigating the state aid issue.

MVM Paks II received an environmental licence in late September and in October submitted a site licence application for the units. A public hearing on the project was launched in the city of Paks on 13 December. Unit 1 is to be completed in 2025 and unit 2 in 2026.