Nuclear energy in Hungary (06.04.2023)

• Four VVER-440 units are operated at the Paks site, generating almost half of Hungary's electricity.

• Construction of two further units at the Paks site started in August 2022.

• The share of nuclear power in the electricity mix, which is currently just under half, is expected to remain at around the same level in the future.


Status quo of power generation

Four VVER-440 V-213 units operate at Paks, the only site in the country. They produce almost half of the electricity generated in Hungary (about 16 out of 35 terawatt hours (TWh)), which traditionally imports more electricity than it exports. Most of the imports come from Slovakia, Ukraine and Austria.

The owner and operator of the Paks Nuclear Power Plant (NPP) is MVM Paks Nuclear Power Plant Ltd, a subsidiary of the state-owned MVM Hungarian Electricity Ltd (Magyar Villamos Művek, MVM).

Energymix Hungary
Strommix Ungarn

Following a corresponding procedure, licenses were granted for all four NPP units to extend their operating lives by 20 years beyond the originally intended operating life of 30 years. Accordingly, the dates for the final shutdown of these reactors are 2032-2037. After ten years, the performance of a Periodic Safety Review (PSR) is mandatory.

Political and legal framework conditions

In January 2020, the Hungarian government published an updated version of the National Energy Strategy and the National Energy and Climate Plan (NECP), which defines Hungary's climate policy goals until 2030 with an outlook to 2040. The basic objective of the new strategy is to strengthen Hungary's energy independence. Accordingly, the expansion of nuclear energy is to contribute to securing electricity supply and competitive prices, as well as to reducing CO2 emissions, while the share of nuclear power is to remain at approximately the same level. The primary objective is to achieve a climate-neutral status by 2050.

Current plans and projects

Map of Hungary
Karte Ungarn

Large NPPs. In line with the energy strategy, the four operating NPP units are to be replaced in the medium term by two units with a capacity of around 1,200 megawatts (MW) of electrical power each at the same site.

An intergovernmental agreement was signed between Hungary and Russia on January 14, 2014. This provides i. a. for the construction of two VVER-1200/W-491 (AES 2006) units at the Paks site. Subsequently, further contracts were signed between Hungarian and Russian companies for the construction, support during operation and maintenance of the units, as well as for fuel supply and waste management. This way, Units 1 to 4 of the Paks NPP are to be replaced in the medium term. Financing is to be provided to a large extent by means of Russian loans.

The construction licences for Units 5 and 6 have been granted, the first construction work (excavation work) started in July 2022, and construction of the two reactor pressure vessels (RPVs) began in Russia in October. Against the background of the Ukraine war and the sanctions imposed on Russia and Rosatom, Hungary is currently negotiating with France about a possible greater involvement in the construction project at Paks. The supply of control systems by the Siemens Energy company is also currently still subject to approval by German authorities. The Hungarian government expects the two units to be completed in 2032.

The Hungarian energy strategy also provides for the option of constructing two further NPP units at another site, should the need arise.

Research reactors

The Atomic Energy Research Institute (KFK AEKI) operates a research reactor in Budapest with a capacity of 10 MW. It was commissioned in 1959 and converted in 1991. In 2009, it was converted to operate using low-enriched uranium. Budapest Technical University also operates a teaching reactor with a capacity of 100 kilowatts (kW).