Siemens Energy, the German manufacturer, has stated that it has no intentions of breaking its contract with Russia’s Rosatom on their nuclear project in Hungary. The company’s supervisory board chairman, Joe Kaeser, made this clear in an interview with Welt am Sonntag on Sunday. Siemens Energy is currently working with Rosatom on the construction of two new reactors for Hungary’s Paks-2 power plant, with Siemens Energy supplying the safety technology for the project.
Despite facing criticism for continuing its cooperation with a sanctioned country’s nuclear giant, Kaeser emphasized the importance of complying with the valid contracts, as violating these contracts could result in legal proceedings by Hungary against Siemens Energy and potentially hefty fines. He highlighted the pressure faced by the company, stating that there are non-governmental organizations demanding non-compliance, which could lead to lawsuits filed by an EU state against Siemens Energy, potentially resulting in unlimited financial penalties.
Kaeser also explained that continuing to work with Rosatom allows Siemens Energy to ensure the safety of the power plant and alleviate concerns about potential emergencies. He stressed that if Siemens Energy were to abandon the project, alternative solutions would likely involve Chinese companies stepping in to supply the controls for the nuclear power plant. This potential scenario would bring the nuclear power plant much closer to Germany than Chernobyl was in the past, raising concerns about safety and security.
The Paks-2 project was initiated in 2014 through an agreement between Hungary and Russia. The project involves the construction of two nuclear reactors by Rosatom, with a Russian state loan financing the majority of the work. The existing reactors at Paks currently produce approximately 2,000 megawatts of electricity, meeting half of Hungary’s energy needs. The new reactors are expected to increase the capacity of the power plant to 4,400 megawatts.
Hungarian Foreign Minister Peter Szijjarto confirmed earlier this month that the construction process for the new reactors has already commenced, and the plan is to connect them to the country’s power grid by the beginning of the next decade. Szijjarto acknowledged the pressure faced by the project due to the European Union’s consideration of adding the nuclear industry to sanctions against Russia related to the situation in Ukraine. However, he stated that Hungary would veto any measures targeting the sector, as it goes against the country’s national interests.
Siemens Energy’s participation in the Paks-2 project has faced challenges, with Germany repeatedly denying the company’s applications for an export license to supply technology and equipment due to sanctions and Germany’s nuclear phase-out. However, both Russia and Hungary have recently confirmed that Siemens Energy remains part of the project.
Rosatom head Alexei Likhachev has also expressed confidence in the completion of the Paks-2 project, despite Western sanctions and criticism. He emphasized that despite opposition from Brussels, Washington, and London, the project will move forward. Likhachev highlighted the European Commission’s approval of the plant’s construction earlier this year as evidence of the project’s legitimacy and commitment to meeting necessary standards.
Siemens Energy’s commitment to the Paks-2 project illustrates the complex dynamics surrounding international cooperation in the nuclear industry. Despite concerns and pressures, the company believes that fulfilling its contractual obligations is in the best interest of ensuring safety and maintaining stability in the region’s energy supply.