Russia’s state-owed nuclear energy company Rosatom has received the Hungarian Atomic Energy Authority (OAH) approval to build two power units at the Paks II nuclear power plant.

The Paks II nuclear power plant (NPP) project is an expansion of the existing Paks NPP, located five kilometres from the small town of Paks, in the central Hungary.

In January 2014, the governments of Hungary and Russia have signed an agreement for the construction of the nuclear power plant expansion project.

In December, the two have signed an EPC contract for the Paks II project, with Rosatom’s engineering company ASE as main contractor.

Rosatom intends to implement the Paks II project with automated active and passive safety systems, including a reinforced concrete containment with a double wall structure.

In addition, the facility will a core catcher to prevent the release of radioactive substances from the active zone in the extremely unlikely event of a beyond-design accident.

The power units 5 and 6 are expected to have a guaranteed lifetime of 60 years, said Rosatom.

Rosatom director general Alexey Likhachev said: “An enormous amount of work has been accomplished together with our Hungarian partners to prepare the documentation.

“The construction license for the new power units of the Hungarian NPP demonstrates firm belief in the Russian VVER-1200 technology, which has successfully passed the test of time and proved its safety and reliability.

“We are confident that the Paks II NPP will guarantee Hungary’s energy sovereignty for almost a century and bring European countries closer to achieving climate goals.”

Rosatom is currently preparing to build the new nuclear power plant, with soil reinforcement, preparation for the construction of the anti-filtration curtains, along with temporary works.

The new power units will feature Generation III+ VVER-1200 reactors, and Paks II will be the European Union (EU)’s first nuclear facility with such reactors.

The granting of the construction license indicates that the new nuclear power plant units are in compliance with Hungarian and European safety standards.

Hungary’s Foreign Affairs and Trade Minister Péter Szijjártó said: “The construction license confirms that the project complies with the international and Hungarian safety requirements.

“It is entirely feasible that Hungary will have two new power units by 2030, thus ensuring the stability of energy supply.”