The Paks II nuclear power plant (NPP) project is an expansion of the existing Paks NPP, which is the first and the only nuclear power plant operating in Hungary.
The 2GW Paks NPP contributes more than 50% of the total domestic power generation and accounts for approximately one-third of the total electricity consumption in the country.
The existing facility is planned to be decommissioned entirely by 2037 and it will be replaced with two new nuclear units of 2.4GW total capacity to fill the supply gap and keep up with the rising electricity consumption of Hungary.
The Paks II NPP project is a high priority project being developed by MVM Paks II Nuclear Power Plant, a subsidiary of Hungary’s largest power company MVM Group.
MVM Paks II submitted the construction license application to Hungarian Atomic Energy Authority (HAEA) for two new units in June 2020. The first unit is expected to be online by 2025 followed by the second unit by 2030.
Background of Paks II project development
The Hungarian Parliament recognised the need for a new nuclear power plant in the wake of a feasibility study concluded for a new project called the Teller project by MVM in July 2017. The parliament granted consent for the same in March 2009.
The Paks II project development was carried out under the Levai project which defined the tasks of licensing, tendering, baseline assessment among other approval activities. The National Energy Strategy of Hungary, formulated in 2011, further strengthened the plan and set out two decades of development and operation strategy.
A new intergovernmental agreement (IGA) for cooperation in the use of nuclear energy for peaceful purposes was signed between Russian and Hungary in January 2014. The agreement covered the planning and construction of two VVER units at the Paks site.
MVM also underwent several rounds of public hearings before receiving the project approval from the European Union.
The independent company MVM Paks II was established in July 2012 to develop the project.
Location and site details
The Paks II plant site is located within the boundaries of the Paks NPP site on the banks of the River Danube, approximately 5km south of the town of Paks in Tolna County of Hungary.
Paks II nuclear power plant make-up
The Paks II NPP will be equipped with two Russian-design VVER-1200 reactors of 1,200MW capacity each. The Paks II NPP will be built on the reference of a new Russian power plant called Leningard NPP II that also utilise VVER-1200 reactors.
The basic design for both the units of the new facility was finalised in October 2019. Each water-cooled, water-moderated power reactor unit will be enclosed within a double containment shell structure for protection against earthquake, tsunami, hurricane, and aircraft crash.
HAEA issued the construction licenses for the control building of the concrete mixing plant and the concrete testing laboratory for the expansion project in July 2020.
The plant will be connected to a new high-voltage substation through a 400kV double circuit overhead line.
Details of the existing Paks nuclear power plant
The existing Paks NPP features four Russian made VVER-440 type pressurised water reactor (PWR) units of an initial power generation capacity of 440MW each. The output power of each reactor has been increased to 500MW following the modernisation and fuel upgrades.
The construction for the first two units of the Paks NPP was started in 1974 while that for the last two units was started in 1979. The four units achieved criticality in 1982, 1984, 1986, and 1987, respectively.
The power plant generated 15,733GWh of electricity in 2018 that represented approximately 50% of the gross electricity production of Hungary during the year.
The existing Paks NPP is owned and operated under MVM Paks Nuclear Power Plant Company. General Electric (GE) served as the contractor for the modernisation of the generator and turbines of the Paks NPP.
The governments of Hungary and the Russian Federation entered into a financial IGA (FIGA) in March 2014 for providing a state credit of €10bn ($11.7bn) to Hungary to finance 80% of the project. The repayment period for the FIGA is 21 years.
The remaining 20% of the project cost is planned to be financed by the Government of Hungary.
JSC NIAEP (now ASE Engineering Company), a part of Russia’s State Atomiс Energy Corporation (Rosatom) was contracted for the engineering, procurement, and construction (EPC), operations, and maintenance, as well as the fuel supply for the Paks II NPP project in December 2014.
KÉSZ Construction and Assembly, a construction company based in Budapest, is engaged for the construction of auxiliary buildings for the nuclear power plant expansion project.
MVM Ovit was contracted for building a 22/11kV transformer station to support the construction of the Paks II power plant.