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The Work Process in Paks is Accelerated Based on Finnish Example

Date: 12.03.2019

Minister without portfolio responsible for the planning, building and commissioning of the two new blocks at Paks Nuclear Power Plant, told World Economy that the government decree on regulating land preparation work on Paks Nuclear Power Plant could also be amended in line with European practice and nuclear safety regulations.

 

Minister Süli recalled, that on the territory of European Union, namely in Finland, which is known for its strict nuclear regulations, within the framework of Hanhikivi project they are already working on excavation of the pit, while their full application for the construction license has not yet been submitted to the Finnish nuclear authority.

The planned amendment of the Hungarian legislation does not mean any relaxation, nor does it change the regulations or requirements, the supervisory powers of the authority remain unchanged. Its sole purpose is to allow preparatory earthworks to start earlier at the Paks site. János Süli made it clear that any start-up activity under the Nuclear Safety Code could only be started after obtaining the construction license.

According to the Finnish nuclear regulations, there is no separate site licensing procedure after the environmental impact assessment, only the construction licensing procedure. As part of this, the suitability of the site is also assessed. According to the regulations, the Finnish project company has started the excavation of the future work area, the construction of the pit, and the construction of a waterproof wall is in process (in their case, because of rocky ground they are eliminating water by drilling impregnation instead of a slurry wall).

This area will serve as the site of the future nuclear power plant. The Finns do all this work without needing a site permit (Paks II already has a final site permit) and have not yet applied for a full construction license.

It would only be possible to start the licensing process for all these works on the basis of the proposed legislative amendment three months after the application for the full construction license was submitted to the authority. During this time, the authority will be able to assess the construction features of the complete application for the construction license for nuclear power plant units. In other words, the licensee, Paks II, could only submit the license application for site preparation work after the three-month assessment period, thereby enabling the nuclear authority to judge the link between the construction of facilities required for the operation of a nuclear power plant and the site preparation work that provides the conditions for their construction, and their nuclear safety aspects. In the case of a positive evaluation, authorization will be obtained within 60 + 30 days (normal evaluation period, and one 30-day extension).

János Süli said that the planned change is intended to ensure that the conditions of continuous operation are maintained at the Paks site, keeping in mind the nuclear safety regulations.

The Minister recalled that the European Commission had previously allowed the construction of support buildings (e.g. warehouses, assembly halls) to begin earlier than the schedule originally set out in the contract

It is important to emphasize that the execution of the slurry wall and soil consolidation works, and the licensing of the excavation works ensure the preparation of the area and are sharply separated from the activities for the construction of the nuclear power plant. The construction works of the nuclear power plant start with the so-called first concreting and can only be started after obtaining the construction license and the relevant additional building permits.

The proposed amendment of the legislation does not affect the responsibilities laid down in the main contract.


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