June 5, 2012 / 9:12 AM / 6 years ago

Russia's Rosatom eyes Hungary nuclear plant tender-paper

* Rosatom would build, finance new nuclear blocks-paper

* Hungary’s Paks plant to add new capacity by 2030

* Paks CEO expects at least five bidders-agency

BUDAPEST, June 5 (Reuters) - Russian state-owned nuclear company Rosatom is keen to expand Hungary’s Paks nuclear power plant, including construction and financing of new power blocks, a top Rosatom official was quoted as saying in the business daily Napi Gazdasag on Tuesday.

Rosatom would be willing to fully finance the new construction, which is expected to cost about 3 trillion forints ($12.4 billion), the paper cited Rosatom Deputy Director General Kirill Komarov as saying at Atomexpo, a nuclear power trade fair in Moscow.

Hungary needs big new electric plants to augment an aging fleet of power stations and the government is expected to issue the construction tender this year for up to 3,000 megawatts (MW) in new nuclear power capacity at the Paks site.

The current plant at Paks, 100 kilometres (60 miles) south of the capital Budapest, uses four Russian-made VVER reactors for a total capacity of 2,000 MW and produces about 40 percent of the country’s electricity.

Paks Chief Executive officer Istvan Hamvas told Hungarian state news agency MTI in Moscow that he expected at least five participants at the upcoming tender, including Rosatom, as well as France’s Areva, Westinghouse Electric and Japanese and South Korean competitors.

Because the basic technical parameters have already been set, Hamvas said he expected Westinghouse to tout its AP 1000 reactor, Rosatom its VVER 1000 model, Areva its 1,600 MW EPR reactor, or its smaller Atmea reactor type, developed in tandem with Japan’s Mitsubishi.

Westinghouse and Areva did not immediately reply to requests seeking comment.

The Paks reactors, built in the 1980s, are undergoing life span extension projects and are expected to stay operational until the 2030s.

The new nuclear blocks should come online between 2020 and 2030, increasing the country’s reliance on nuclear power to 60 percent of the electricity mix.

The government last week created a committee to prepare strategic decisions for the construction headed by Prime Minister Viktor Orban.

Rosatom, through its subsidiary TVEL, is the fuel supplier for Hungary’s existing four Russian-made nuclear power blocks and has participated in their maintenance as well.

$1 = 242.1215 Hungarian forints Reporting by Marton Dunai; editing by Jason Neely

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