Representing Hungary, Minister of State for Climate Change and Energy Pál Kovács addressed the informal discussion of the European Union’s energy ministers, held on nuclear energy in Paris on 10 February 2012. The heads responsible for this specialisation in the Member States discussed energy policy challenges, and the appropriate ratio and sustainability of nuclear energy.

Regarding energy policy goals, Pál Kovács made it clear that the successful implementation of efforts at creating a low-carbon economy requires an overall approach to the management of this issue. For this reason the European Union and its Member States should use all available means to increase the efficiency of international conciliations. Mr Kovács drew the attention to the fact that the measures planned in the interest of setting the economy on a low carbon path must be developed in due regard to the risks related to various economic factors, competition and social considerations.

Fourteen countries, more than half of the 27 Member States of the European Union, have got operating nuclear powers, and still, nearly 30 percent of Europe’s total electricity demand is provided from nuclear energy. Being the cheapest low carbon technology, nuclear energy may have a pivotal role in combating climate change in the future. In Hungary, nuclear energy will contribute significantly to the sustainability of energy supply, and due to its favourable costs, also to economic competitiveness. Pál Kovács stressed that the decisions on the desirable energy mix must be left within the competence of the Member States. “Hungary is definitely in favour of the technology neutral approach”, he said. The National Energy Strategy approved by Parliament expects to maintain the current role of nuclear energy in the next decades.

Mr Kovács added: in full agreement with the European Union’s position, the Hungarian Government was interested in the utilisation of nuclear energy with enforcement of the highest standard security requirements. In a final national report the Hungarian Atomic Energy Authority informed the European Commission of the results of the stress test performed in the Paks Nuclear Power Plant. According to the report, no problem requiring prompt action was mentioned. However, the test revealed certain intervention opportunities that may effectively increase the safety of the power plant at the cost of a realistic investment. The nuclear power plant will take the necessary measures to this end. For every decision adopted on and action taken in connection with the extension of the operating time of the Paks Nuclear Power Plant, the Government pays special attention to the safety of operation.

(Ministry of National Development , Department of Communication)