János Süli: electricity will remain affordable thanks to Paks

12/7/21 1:11 PM
The return on the Paks II. investment and the price stability of nuclear power plants were also discussed at a hearing of the Economic Committee.

The rising electricity prices across Europe in recent months also support the return on investment of Paks II - emphasized János Süli at the ministerial hearing before the Economic Committee of the Parliament. The minister without portfolio responsible for the Paks project said those who questioned the viability of the investment, envisioning persistently low market energy prices, were not right. Scarce electricity generation capacities, rising EU quota prices and growing electricity demand are driving up prices – the minister said, adding that while rising utility prices are placing an increasing burden on the population in the European Union, thanks to the Paks Nuclear Power Plant, Hungary has the lowest residential electricity price among EU Member States.

– The purpose of the Paks II. investment is to maintain the capacity to guarantee supply security. The Paks project is the key to cheap and clean power generation – he said.

The minister emphasized that a study by the United Nations Economic Commission for Europe (UNECE) identifies nuclear energy as the most climate-friendly energy source. According to the calculations of the international organization, the carbon dioxide emissions, land and raw material requirements of nuclear power plants are even lower than those of renewable energy sources. 

János Süli also spoke before the committee about the extremely high price stability of nuclear power plants. – This means that fuel represents only a very small part, only 5-10% of the total cost of electricity generation, thus the exposure to price fluctuations is much smaller compared to other power plants. In the case of combined cycle gas-fired power plants, this is as high as 60%, the minister underlined, recalling that prices in the European natural gas market have risen four to five times since January. János Süli informed the members of the committee that, in compliance with the legal requirement, the nuclear power plant always has a sufficient fuel supply for two years, and the fuel in the reactor is only replaced in about 4-5 years. - Nuclear fuel can be stored safely, in a small space and can be obtained from several sources if necessary. This means much greater security than the import of electricity – the minister said.

János Süli recommended to the members of the committee the joint publication of the Hungarian Energy and Public Utility Regulatory Authority and MAVIR, published the other day. According to a study summarizing the operational data of the domestic electricity system in 2020, despite the coronavirus pandemic, electricity consumption increased by 0,3% to 46550 TWh last year; solar plants operated at 16,35% utilization and wind power plants at 22,53% utilization in 2020, while the utilization of the Paks NPP units exceeded 90%.