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Size: 35,919 square miles (slightly smaller than Indiana)
Electricity Production: 33.2 billion kWh (1996 est.)
Hungary operates one nuclear power plant at Paks on the Danube River. In 1997, the four VVER-440/213 reactors at Paks produced about 40 percent of the country's electricity. The plant's management has recognized the importance of nuclear information exchange and has established several programs to increase the flow of operating experience information to the plant's operators. In addition, the Paks plant has raised its performance level with the help of a new full-scope simulator. The simulator is used to train staff and to test emergency procedures. Following such a test in 1990, plant management made significant improvements to these procedures.
Licensing authority is held by the Hungarian Atomic Energy Authority, which also regulates the handling of radioactive materials such as spent fuel. Operation of the Paks plant, however, is part of MVM, which has included current nuclear generating capacity as part of a 10-year electricity generating strategy. That strategy also includes improvements to thermal plants, the construction of natural gas-fired combined-cycle plants and a coal-fired fluidized bed plant, and site studies for a new nuclear plant on the Danube.
MVM is in the process of privatization, with the goal being up to 100% of non-nuclear production and distribution facilities being privatized, with the government retaining control of the high-voltage power distribution grid and the Paks nuclear plant.
A consortium of three European companies (Germany's Bayernwerk and PreussenElectra and France's Electricite de France International) was formed with the aim of connecting the Hungarian electricity grid to the Western European grid.
Nuclear plant oversight is the responsibility of the Nuclear Safety Inspectorate, part of the Hungarian Atomic Energy Commission. There are 10 resident inspectors at Paks. The Commission signed an agreement in 1990 with the U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission on cooperation and exchange of information. It is revising the requirements for nuclear power plant design, manufacture, construction, and operation to bring them into line with IAEA recommendations and Western regulations.
Hungary receives nuclear fuel from the Russian firm Tekhsnabeksport; however, the current contract runs out in 1999.
With storage space in its spent fuel pools running low and future acceptance of spent fuel by Russia uncertain, the Paks plant has begun construction of a modular vault dry storage system. In agreement with the Paks local government, the plant will place no spent fuel in the facility as long as Russia continues to accept the plant's spent fuel. A site for a high-level waste repository in the Mecsek mountains is under study.
Source: Source Book , 4th ed., Nuclear Energy Institute, 1996; Soviet-Designed Nuclear Power Plant Profiles , U.S. Department of Energy, 1999
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