HomeMediaLatest NewsThe energy crisis has divided Europe into smart and not so smart

The energy crisis has divided Europe into smart and not so smart

31 August 2022

Kondratiev Sergey V. Principal Director on Economic Studies, Head of the Economic Department

Sergey Kondratiev, Deputy Head of the Economic Department of the Institute for Energy and Finance, commented to the Vzglyad business newspaper on the consequences of the accelerated refusal of some EU countries from nuclear energy.

The Hungarian Foreign Minister Peter Szijjarto confirmed that the local regulator has allowed the construction of the so-called nuclear island and the fifth reactor at the Paks-2 nuclear power plant. The construction of new blocks will be carried out by Russia. Agreements on this were reached back in 2014, but the start of the project was delayed by the Hungarian side. But in July of this year, Szijjarto, after a meeting with the head of Rosatom, Alexei Likhachev, said that the construction of nuclear reactors could begin as early as September.

“This is a long-awaited permit that has been awaited for more than five years. Rosatom has long been ready to start work, the problem arose from the Hungarian side. However, there are positives to this delay. Firstly, Hungary demonstrates with this step not only its desire to develop nuclear energy, but also that it is ready to do it together with Russia, which is not easy in the current conditions. Secondly, now Russia will be able to reach an agreement with Budapest on the shore and minimize the risks of sanctions for itself, which is very important. Because we have seen from the example of Finland that it is possible to invest in a nuclear project, in equipment, and then get a break in the contract,” Sergey Kondratiev says.

The disadvantage of this situation, according to him, is that this political gesture of Hungary in the current conditions will be rather virtual. It will be difficult for Hungary to start building a nuclear power unit in the next year and a half. Firstly, this requires interaction with European regulators, the approval of the project with Euroatom, etc., which may be delayed due to the geopolitical confrontation with Russia. Secondly, due to the absence of the sea, Hungary will have to negotiate with neighboring countries on the transportation of equipment and the arrival of Russian specialists, and this will also be difficult under the current conditions.

Over the past decade, European countries have taken a course not only on the decommissioning of coal-fired power plants, but also on the premature forced closure of existing nuclear reactors. And this was another serious mistake of the European Union. If the European countries at least retained the share of nuclear generation in their energy balance, then it would be much easier for them to survive the current energy crisis now. Nuclear generation is not only "green", but stable and cheap. 

Kondratiev Sergey V. Principal Director on Economic Studies, Head of the Economic Department
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