On January 14, 2014, Hungary and Russia agreed on the construction of two new Russian 3+ generation VVER power units with 1200 MW of electricity on the Paks site to achieve domestic security of supply, low electricity prices and climate protection goals. Anti-nuclear politicians and organizations have been spinning ever since: why did Hungary choose the Russian VVER-1200 block type? I will answer this question below.
Novovoronyezs II. construction of a nuclear power plant. Since 2017, the world's first 3+ generation block, the Novovoronyzsi block 6, is active here
In Hungary, maintaining the capacity of the Paks nuclear power plant has always been an important issue for energy-conscious, responsible and nationally-oriented energy professionals. In the past decade, when the Paks nuclear power plant came to an end, demand became increasingly urgent: how to maintain the share of nuclear power in the domestic electricity supply. Forty years now, the cheap, reliable and continuously available nuclear power plant that generates CO2 emissions will need the land as it is today. Even today, 50 percent of domestic electricity production comes from Paks.
The history of the construction of the new Paks plant began in April 2008 when the then CEO of MVM informed the minister in question in writing that the CEO of ÁPV Rt had invited the company at the beginning of 2007 by the Minister of Finance to expansion of electricity production in the nuclear power plant. In the first months of 2009 events were accelerated, at the end of March (the profession) a historic moment could be observed, as Parliament accepted 330 seats (MSZP 180, Fidesz 109, KDNP 19, SZDSZ 15, independent 7), 6 no, 7 abstentions on the Paks NPP site the proposal for a decision on the granting of prior permission for the introduction of a new nuclear power plant block (s).
In 2009, in governmental thinking and in the exploration of financing possibilities, it was even realized that it might be necessary to sell the minority interest (up to 49%) of the minority interest in the project company for strategic investors. MVM Zrt. Was unable to fully fund the project, 100%. This meant that it would have been completely acceptable for the then government to have foreign ownership up to 49 percent of the new block (s). Based on the various analyzes and studies carried out at the Paks site, the completed feasibility study has proposed the construction of a third-generation nuclear plant under pressure. Embracing the basically recommended, prospective Russian VVER-1000, American AP1000 and French EPR 1600 types.
Investigations into the electricity system have shown that the construction of blocks of 2 x 1000 MW forms the lowest risk from a network point of view. The 1600 MW EPR-type block was technically too big. It has also been seen that due to the technical problems and the disadvantages of the quality of the individual components, this family is expected to drop significantly in the case of the Olkiluoto-3 EPR block in Finland and the costs will increase. Based on the current information, this block is expected to be completed by the end of 2019 instead of the original 2009 deadline. The reference "American" AP1000 has no reference at all. The construction of the first such type of blocks started in China only in 2009 at the Sani site. There were constant technical and development problems here, which were further exacerbated by Westinghouse's bankruptcy. That is why the world's first AP1000 block, the Chinese Sánmen-1, was able to connect to the network at the end of June this year. As far as the French type is concerned, it is also worth noting that the world's first EPR block, the Chinese Taishan-1, could connect to the network for the first time in the last days of June.
The Russian blocks of the VVER-1000 type already had a reference. At the Chinese Tianwan site, in 2007, two VVER-1000 blocks began to commercialize. This type is characterized by the consistent application of security principles and requirements that are internationally accepted and applied internationally. The Russian blocks that had been built in China already had a double-walled container and a zone melting trap. It is also important to note that the blocks VVER-1000 and VVER-1200 were already very large at that time, because many of these units were built or contracted for investments in Russia and abroad. The calculations of the recoveries showed that, with a lifetime of 60 years, investment costs could be recovered several times.
The operating room of the working Novovoronyezs II-1 block
In addition, PWR blocks (Pressurized Water Reactor) account for about 70 percent of the installed capacity of 398,000 MW of nuclear power plants that are currently operating worldwide (almost forty-five times the installed capacity of our country). This percentage has clearly increased over the past decade. According to current data, 83 percent of the blocks are such. Moreover, the choice of pressurized water technology is justified by the enormous experience of construction, operation, development, training and maintenance that the Paks nuclear power plant has built up so far.
After the parliamentary elections of 2010 in Hungary, the second Orbanthe government considered the establishment and adoption of the national energy strategy as an important strategic task, the fundamental objective of which was to strengthen the energy independence of Hungary. One of the main points to achieve this goal was the long-term sustainability of the capacity of the domestic nuclear power plant. That is why the strategy adopted by Parliament at the end of 2011 has already set a clear path for the future development of Hungary's nuclear capacity, namely the construction of the two new blocks. The strategy predicted that Paks 5 would be commercialized by 2025 and block 6 by the year 2030 at the latest.
The government has already considered strengthening state ownership to provide affordable prices for domestic electricity consumers at affordable prices. In this respect, it was stated that the new blocks should remain one hundred percent state owned. In order to finance the investment, a financial solution had to be found that could guarantee this.
Nuclear safety prevails in the nuclear industry for every professional or political point of view. Hungary also considered this a primary requirement when choosing a block type: the two new blocks to be built meet the international and national safety requirements after the nuclear accident in Fukushima and, if possible, provide security and backups that go beyond the current requirements. All these conditions only correspond to the VVER-1200 block type of the 3+ generation. In addition, it is important that the supplier has professional convincing references about the construction, maintenance and development of that technology. The government also felt it was important for the domestic companies and employees to participate as much as possible in the investment.
The government's decision was also confirmed by the fact that from 2010 onwards, from the Russian side, the blocks of the VVER type were delivered continuously from 2010 onwards, both at home and abroad. Roszatom orders for building new blocks have grown steadily. The latter also means that the accumulated knowledge of the Russian party in recent decades is in new nuclear power plants.
As a result of the investment loan of up to ten billion euros that Russia has provided, we have two new nuclear power plants with a capacity of 1200 MW for at least sixty years. The project can have significant GDP growth effects because it can involve job creation, economic recovery and the development of infrastructure. Hungary has an exceptional opportunity – which is not guaranteed by other suppliers – because according to the agreement 40% of the value of the investment can be carried out by Hungarian suppliers, ie Paks II. thanks to a nuclear power plant, domestic companies can receive orders worth EUR 5 billion. For domestic companies, it is also possible that they can participate in projects in Russia or other countries, including Russia, in the future. As an example it can be mentioned that Czech companies are already very important suppliers of My Rosat, they are also involved in investments in Russia and almost all foreign projects. It is also an EU requirement that 55% of the tenders are made through public tenders. Thanks to the investment, the domestic budget can generate significant additional income and during the peak period of the investment thousands of people can work on the construction of the two new blocks.
In connection with Russian financing, it is also important to emphasize that this ensures the Hungarian national interest, that is to say, the exclusive ownership of the two new blocks to be built, which are 100% Hungarian. Moreover, the long-term competitiveness of the investment is guaranteed by the very favorable conditions of the Russian credit facility, since the maximum of EUR 10 billion and interest will be repaid after 21 years of installation of the blocks. A favorable option for Hungary is the possibility of early repayment of the loan at face value and without additional costs. Hungary has already lived with this exceptional opportunity. Benefiting from good economic performance and favorable international money market opportunities, Paks II. the amount of almost € 78 million that has been drawn up to date to finance the project has been paid in advance by our country, resulting in significant savings on interest rates.
Government declarations according to Paks II. the costs of the production unit amount to about 15-17 HUF / kWh (50-55 EUR / MWh) for a full business of six years. My own calculations, published and published in February 2014, also resulted in a price of about $ 17 / kWh during the full 60 years of operation. This unit price of electricity includes both the capital and interest costs associated with the repayment of the Russian loan, the operating costs, the cost of nuclear fuel, and the cost element that Paks II. ensure the financing of future management costs for waste / spent fuel. The return on the project is also supported by a final survey by the European Commission, as the results show that the two new blocks will return the invested capital and generate significant profits.
The Leningrad II. fresh fuels in the first construction reactor (December 2017)
Russians at the top
The world's first 3+ generation VVER-1200 nuclear power plant block – the Novovoronyezs II-1 block – has been in commercial operation since February 2017. This type has been recognized by the International Atomic Energy Agency as the world's first block that meets the 3+ generation of nuclear power requirements. In addition, the European Commission – Paks II. project, he also found that the two new VVER-1200 blocks built on Pakson could meet the most stringent requirements in the area of nuclear safety and radiation protection. November Novovoronyezs II. The first VVER-1200 block in the nuclear power plant received the best power plant price from the more than 135-year-old American Power Power magazine in which it had an American and a Swedish nuclear power plant.
At the moment many of these blocks are under construction or they are already talking about the investment. The Paks II. it is important to mention that the reference blocks of Paks New Blocks, Leningrad II. Nuclear power plant VVER-1200, 3+ Generation block 1 has reached a nominal performance level of one hundred percent on 12 June 2018. In Russia, more such blocks are built or designed. In the case of orders placed abroad, such blocks will be constructed or built according to the already signed agreement: Finland (1), Belarus (2), China (4), Bangladesh (2), Turkey (4) and Egypt (4). Soon European and other countries can decide on the construction of this VVER-1200 block.
Russia and Roszatom is a strategic partner of Hungary, the world leader in the number of orders, because it can offer professional background and world-class technology. The nuclear power plant in Russia has 6 orders for the construction of 35 new nuclear power stations abroad, because more and more countries want to enter the atomic energy club. All this clearly demonstrates the tradability, competitiveness, reliability and safety of Russian technology.