Heads bobble in agreement with €10bn Russian loan contract for Paks 2 nuclear plant project in Hungary

Sajtóközlemény - június 23, 2014
Budapest, 23 June 2014 – Greenpeace activists placed 110 bobblehead dogs on the square in front of the Hungarian Parliament. This is also the number of the MPs who voted for the loan agreement regarding the Paks 2 nuclear plant investment. For 21 years, Hungarian taxpayers will have to pay almost €1bn annually [1], making a total cost of the loan of about €20bn. According to a fresh, representative opinion poll by Ipsos [2], almost 60% of the Hungarians oppose the Paks 2 project, if realised by using Russian loan.

This is the biggest loan the State of Hungary has ever borrowed. Furthermore, it is a loan which risks the sovereignty of Hungary, and does not solve at all the problem of energy dependency. The construction of the new reactor units will be managed by Russian state-owned large companies, with their technology, and with them providing the fuel as well. In fact, the entire investment is unnecessary, and brings serious security risks.

The Paks 2 project has further hazards beyond the economic and political risks that should not be overlooked either. The new blocks would be installed only a couple of hundred metres away from the units of the old nuclear plant which represent a 50-year-old technology. The spent fuel rods constitute the same problem as everywhere else in the world: Russia undertook their transportation and storage only temporarily, for 20 years, after which Hungary will have to arrange their treatment. However, the final disposal of spent fuel rods has always been a problem to which no one found the solution yet. Therefore it is questionable what sort of guarantees can the Hungarian government or the nuclear industry provide for storing the spent fuel rods for at least a hundred thousand years.

The decision also neglects the will of the voters: as, according to a recent poll by Ipsos [2], 87% of the Hungarians would support the use of renewables as the primary energy source in the country.

“Greenpeace considers real energy independence as the way forward, not total dependency. Such a system should be based on renewables, and should fully exploit the huge potentials of energy efficiency. The renewables already have a competitive price, and they are getting cheaper and cheaper in the future. By 2040, more than 50% the primary energy demand could be covered by renewable sources inland, a figure that can reach even 75% by 2050” – said Mr János Mező, campaigner at Greenpeace Hungary. This is what could bring the sustainable future and security of supply for Hungary, instead of the highly hazardous and completely unnecessary nuclear investment.

As a comparison, an analysis suggests [3] that each and every residential house in Hungary could be properly insulated for €5bn – a quarter of the total construction budget for Paks 2. Such a development could decrease the gas consumption of the lowest classified houses by up to 50%.

[1] Calculations by Mr Balázs Felsmann, Head of Research at Corvinus University of Budapest, Department of Strategic Management, former Secretary of State, as published in a media interview: http://nol.hu/kulfold/20140125-lesz_itt_tomegmozgalom-1440301

[2] In a representative opinion poll by Ipsos in June 2014, surveying a sample of 500 people, 58.9% of the respondents said they “strongly opposed” or “rather opposed” the nuclear project, when asked, “Do you support the construction of Paks Nuclear Power Plant’s two new blocks, to be built using a Russian state company’s Russian loan?”

[3] In a representative opinion poll by Ipsos in June 2014, surveying a sample of 500 people, 87.2% of the respondents said they would choose renewable energy sources (wind, solar, water and geothermal) over nuclear and fossil sources when asked, “If you could determine what kind of energy source would Hungary primarily use, which one would you choose amongst the following?”

[4] Knauf Insulation is a German insulation producer company present in 50 countries, also operating in Hungary since 2005. http://www.knaufinsulation.hu/sites/hu.knaufinsulation.net/files/Paks_vs_Szigeteles_sajtokozlemeny.doc


Further information:
Zsolt Szegfalvi
executive director, Greenpeace Hungary

+36 20 573 1430

Press contact:
Hajnalka Schmidt

+36 20 525 3500