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Buzz Barometer: Brussels Poised to Disrupt Russia-Hungary Nuclear Deal - FT
February 23, 2015 20:17

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The Financial Times has leaked plans by Brussels to torpedo the Hungary-Russia nuclear deal signed by the leaders last week.
According to the report, Budapest’s decision “to award up to €12bn in nuclear power contracts to a Russian state-owned company” may be blocked by EU regulators.
“Opponents of the deal say it both carries financial risks and deepens Hungary’s energy dependence on Russia. The country already relies on Russia for 80 per cent of its oil and 60 per cent of its gas imports,” reads the report.
Two EU agencies are now looking into the agreements, including Euratom which is “withholding approval for the plant’s fuel supply on technical and financial grounds,” the FT quotes an official familiar with the situation.
The newspaper brings the issue into larger context by referring to the “struggle between EU technocrats and Russia over Europe’s energy security”. In late 2014, Moscow scrapped its $50bn South Stream gas pipeline project citing barriers put in place by Brussels.
In a sign of defiance Budapest announced that energy policy was a sovereign matter.
But the situation is exacerbated by the standoff over the Ukraine crisis. Russia has sparked a wave of criticism after it incorporated Crimea into its territory following a referendum on the peninsula with a large ethnic Russian population. The US and the EU imposed a raft of sanctions on Russian officials and individuals with close ties to the Kremlin. The US also put space and military cooperation on hold, followed by some of its NATO allies, including the UK. Trade between the EU and Russia fell sharply in 1Q 2014
According to Wikipedia, the Paks Nuclear Power Plant, located 5 kilometres from Paks, central Hungary, is the first and only operating nuclear power station in Hungary. Altogether, its four reactors produce more than 40 percent of the electrical power generated in the country.

According to the agreement signed by Zsuzsanna Németh (National Developmental Minister of Hungary) and Sergey Kiriyenko (Rosatom chairman) on 14 January 2014 Paks Nuclear Power Plant will be expanded by the Russian state company Rosatom. Eighty percent of the project’s cost will be financed with a 10 billion Euro credit line from Russia. Construction will start in 2015 with two VVER-1200 reactors and will be complete in 2023. 

Author: Mikhail Vesely

Tags: Buzz Barometer     

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