This report provides information on the status and development of nuclear power programmes in Hungary, including factors related to the effective planning, decision making and implementation of the nuclear power programme that together lead to safe and economical operations of nuclear power plants.
The CNPP summarizes organizational and industrial aspects of nuclear power programmes and provides information about the relevant legislative, regulatory and international framework in Hungary.
Hungary has one nuclear power plant (NPP) with four units, one research reactor and one nuclear training reactor in operation. Construction of new NPP units to expand the nuclear energy programme is planned in order to meet future electricity demand.
1. GENERAL ENERGY OVERVIEW
1.1. ENERGY INFORMATION
1.1.1. Energy policy
In line with the most recent European Union Gas and Electricity Market Directives, all electricity and gas customers can freely select their supplier as of 1 July 2007. An act on electricity (Act No. 86 of 2007) was adopted by the Hungarian Parliament, supporting full liberalization of the electricity market in order to enhance economic competitiveness and provide sustainable security of supply. The act is harmonized with the requirements of the European Union. Most of the provisions of the act entered into force in 2007. In the beginning of 2008, the electricity market became fully liberalized. Nevertheless, 2008 is considered a transition period, as the players in the market had to adapt to new rules. Non-residential Hungarian electricity consumers pay for substantial subsidies to the sectors of renewables through levies on their tariffs. The new premium based renewable support scheme (METÁR) was approved by the Hungarian Parliament in 2016, and it was introduced in 2017.
In February 2008, the National Climate Change Strategy for the period 2008–2025 was adopted by the Hungarian Parliament. The strategy emphasizes the need for increasing energy efficiency, energy savings and the use of renewable energies (wind, solar, geothermic, biomass). It does not mention nuclear energy as part of the concept.
In April 2008, a resolution on a new energy policy concept for 2008–2020 was adopted by the Parliament. The Hungarian energy policy aimed to maintain a balance between security of supply, cost effectiveness, energy efficiency and protection of the environment. According to the resolution, the Government would start working on preparating the decision on new nuclear capacity for the replacement of the old plants, as the proposal had to be submitted to the Parliament in due time. The resolution also states that the Government should create the necessary conditions for the implementation of the programmes aimed at the final disposal of radioactive waste, and that the Government should inform the Parliament on the implementation of the energy policy at least every two years and, in case of need, it should propose a review of the concept.
The Hungarian Energy Strategy was adopted by the Parliament in October 2011. The Energy Strategy gives a roadmap until 2030 and proposes a vision until 2050. The main aim of the strategy is to ensure the optimal balance of security of supply, competitiveness and sustainability. Energy imports should be decreased by diversification of resources and/or origins. The main elements of the strategy include the increased use of renewables, maintenance of nuclear capacity (lifetime extension and consideration of building new capacity), development of regional energy infrastructure, development of a new organizational system as well as increased effectiveness and efficiency in energy use. The Energy Strategy can be found on the web site of the Ministry of National Development (http://www.kormany.hu/en/ministry-of-national-development). For more information, see Section 2.3.1. According to Government policy, energy price cuts reached 20% in 2014 for individual customers. The regulation of the European Parliament and of the Council on the Governance of the Energy Union was adopted in 2016, which defines the National Energy and Climate Plans. In line with the regulation, Member States shall prepare their national plans and targets for the period until 2030 and 2050. The documents shall be submitted to the Commission until the end of 2019.
According to the National Policy for the Management of Spent Fuel and Radioactive Waste adopted in April 2015 by the Parliament and the National Programme for the Management of Spent Fuel and Radioactive Waste approved by the Government in 2016, national development goals and objectives relating to spent nuclear fuel and radioactive waste include: development of a national strategy for the back end of the fuel cycle, with due consideration to be given to various options; continuous extension of the spent fuel interim storage facility in Paks; phased implementation of the geological investigation programme of the Boda Claystone Formation aiming at a future deep geological repository; ongoing implementation of the safety enhancement programme at the Radioactive Waste Treatment and Disposal Facility in Püspökszilágy as well as the extension of the National Radioactive Waste Repository in Bátaapáti and optimization of its disposal concept.
The Act on Atomic Energy (Act No. 116 of 1996) was greatly modified in 2011. The most important elements of the modification concern the safety principles and the tasks and activity of the Hungarian Atomic Energy Authority (HAEA). The nuclear safety codes were also modified, with Western European Nuclear Regulators’ Association (WENRA) reference levels built in. The set of requirements was completed in two new volumes in order to define requirements for all parts of the lifetime of nuclear facilities. The new set of requirements entered into force on 1 November 2011.
A modification of the act was drafted in 2013, declaring that all facility level licensing procedures should include public hearings to ensure transparency and openness, arranged by the HAEA.
Furthermore, from 1 July 2014, the responsibilities of the HAEA have undergone several changes. According to this amendment, HAEA took over the task of regulatory oversight of the radioactive waste repositories. The act also introduced new procedures regarding licences for site assessment and evaluation, and licences to define characteristics and to determine the suitability of sites.
The Hungarian Parliament approved Act No. 7 of 2015 on the modification of the regulations involving the construction of new nuclear power plant units (the Project Act). The Project Act amended the Act on Atomic Energy in several sections. The new provisions (inter alia) extend the responsibility of the HAEA over the supervision of ionizing radiation applications as well as over radioactive waste repositories, and guarantee that the revenues of the HAEA can only be used for regulatory purposes. The Project Act furthermore transfers the responsibilities to HAEA for radiation protection (safety of radioactive sources, safety of equipment emitting ionizing radiation without radioactive material), personal dose monitoring, environmental monitoring, construction of general civil structures and buildings of nuclear facilities and radioactive waste repositories as of 1 January 2016. Lower level legislative amendments also entered into force on 1 January 2016.
From 1 January 2016, HAEA has been the general construction supervisory authority for construction in the safety zone of nuclear installations and radioactive waste repositories. (HAEA was responsible for the supervision of special nuclear construction exclusively). Act No. 50 of 2017 made the appropriate changes on the statutory level in order to fit the general administrative regime introduced by Act No. 150 of 2016; the latest amendments entered into force on 1 January 2018.
The modified act and the new safety codes can be found on the HAEA’s web site (www.haea.gov.hu).
Following the accident at the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant (NPP), all European countries operating NPPs performed a targeted safety reassessment (TSR) — the so-called stress test — to meet the request of the European Council. The TSR of Paks NPP focused on topics specified by the European Nuclear Safety Regulators Group (ENSREG): issues corresponding to earthquakes and/or flooding and other external natural hazard factors, the loss of electric power supply and of ultimate heat sink or a combination of those, and severe accident management. In relation to the hazard factors, it was assessed whether the design basis of the plant was duly determined and whether there were sufficient reserves beyond design basis before severe damage occurred. Based on the final report of the Paks NPP submitted to the HAEA for regulatory review, the HAEA agreed with the proposed tasks in the report to be carried out in order to further improve the plant safety and identified a few additional options. Along with the detailed coverage of the topics specified by ENSREG, the HAEA also established that the national legal requirements for the safety of NPPs are in line with the international standards and best practices. The HAEA submitted the National Report with the results of the review to the European Commission by the end of 2011 and published it on its web site. Based on the results of the regulatory review of the TSR, the HAEA concluded that the design basis of the Paks NPP is adequate, and complies with the legal requirements and international practice. The safety systems and safety functions satisfy requirements of the design basis. After the last periodic safety review of the Paks NPP, specific safety enhancement measures were implemented, mainly in order to improve the plants beyond design basis capabilities. These measures are fully in line with expectations of the TSR as well. It can be concluded that the Paks NPP is safe and no deficiency has occurred. The measures initiated by the last periodic safety review provide robust capabilities for the plant for successful management of severe situations as well. In addition to the positive findings, the TSR identified a number of options and measures to enhance plant safety even further. The HAEA ordered the operator of the plant to develop a detailed programme by the end of the first half of 2012 in order to realize these options.
The National Action Plan of Hungary on the implementation actions decided upon the lessons learned from the Fukushima Daiichi accident was adopted in December 2012. The National Action Plan has been prepared in accordance with the recommendations of ENSREG (see ENSREG the web site, http://www.ensreg.eu/). The implementation of the National Action Plan is currently in progress.
As of 9 May 2018, the status of the National Action Plan at the Paks NPP on the implementation actions decided upon the lessons learned from the Fukushima Daiichi accident is the following: of 46 tasks, 34 were completed by the HAEA, two are ready and under review by the HAEA, and ten are still ongoing.
1.1.2. Estimated available energy
TABLE 1. ESTIMATED AVAILABLE ENERGY SOURCES
|Estimated available (exploitable) energy sources|
|Total amount in specific units*||8 404.9||66.9||1675.3||31.3|
|Total amount in exajoules (EJ)||0.016||60.110|
* Solid (coal), liquid: million tonnes; gas: billion m3; uranium metal: thousand tonnes; hydro, renewable: EJ.
Source: (Fossil fuels and nuclear, 01.01.2017): Mining and Geological Survey of Hungary.
As of the beginning of 2017, Hungary had estimated coal resources of more than 10.5 billion tonnes. The bulk of this resource is lignite, with 5.7 billion tonnes, followed by 3.1 billion tonnes of brown coal and 1.6 billion tonnes of hard coal. The coal found in Hungary has comparatively low calorific value with high ash and sulphur content. An important element of coal mining is the rigorous application of environmental protection requirements. Although the major share is used for power generation, a significant amount of coal was used for heating and cooking in households and communal facilities until the early 1990s; yet since then, the use of coal has rapidly declined. Domestic production of coal has also declined in the last two decades. Hungary produced about 7.97 million tonnes of coal in 2017, and imports are needed. The imports come mostly from the Czech Republic, Poland and the Russian Federation. Hungary’s oil and gas reserves are relatively small. Hungary’s uranium resources are limited to those of the Mecsek deposit. Between 1956 and 1997, uranium was mined at the underground Mecsek mine by the Mecsek Ore Mining Company, producing a total of just over 21 000 tU (tonnes of uranium metal). Until an ore processing plant became operational at the site in 1963, all ore was shipped to the Sillimae metallurgy plant in Estonia. After 1963, uranium concentrates produced at the processing plant were shipped to the Soviet Union. The mine was closed in 1997 due to poor market conditions. Remediation activities began the following year and were completed in 2008. Ongoing treatment of contaminated water from the mine and tailings ponds results in the collection of about 1 to 3 tU per year.
Mecsekérc Ltd was established as a state owned company continuing the state mine remediation tasks. This company undertakes environmental protection, geoscience, technical and geotechnical jobs in the following fields:
Design and implementation of repositories to be developed with mining techniques (e.g. prospecting for low and intermediate level radioactive waste repositories, gas or liquified petroleum gas (LPG) storage facilities, pumping energy accumulator power plants);
Prospecting and preparation of interim or final disposal of radioactive and hazardous waste, and the construction of facilities for these purposes;
Planning and fulfillment of the remediation activity for the uranium industry in central European countries;
Full scale remediation and land reclamation activity to wind up consequences of former mining and other activities that harm the environment;
Soil mechanical test, control and design of earthworks;
Environmental damage assessment;
Planning, implementing and licensing of environmental damage remediation activities;
Geological, hydrogeological and mineral resource prospecting;
Geological, hydrogeological and soil mechanical planning and carriage tasks related to infrastructure investments (e.g. road and railway construction);
Testing, planning and carriage work for protecting and securing drinking water resources;
Surface and underground solid mineral mining activity, obtaining mining licences.
1.1.3. Energy statistics
TABLE 2. ENERGY STATISTICS (EXAJOULES)
|Average annual growth rate (%)|
|- Nuclear (electricity)||—||0.141||0.161||0.162||0.169||0.172||0.172||0.173||0.168||0.172||0.174||0.176||0.176||0|
|- Hydro (electricity)||—||0.001||0.001||0.001||0.001||0.001||0.001||0.001||0.001||0.001||0.001||0.001||0.001||0.000|
|- Wind (electricity)||0.000||0.001||0.001||0.002||0.002||0.002||0.003||0.003||0.002||0.002||0.002||0.003||0.000|
|- Primary electricity (net import)||0.010||0.014||0.014||0.020||0.019||0.024||0.029||0.043||0.048||0.049||0.046||0.046||0|
renewables and wastes
|Net import (Import -Export)|
|Stock changes (opening- closing stock)|
* Latest available data.
** Energy consumption = Primary energy production + Net import (Import-Export) of secondary energy + stock change.
*** Solid fuels include coal, lignite.
—: Data not available.
Source: Hungarian Energy and Public Utility Regulatory Authority, Directorate of Analysis and Statistics.
1.2. THE ELECTRICITY SYSTEM
1.2.1. Electricity system and decision making process
The reform of the electricity industry started in 1994–1995, when Act No. 48 of 1994 on Production, Transportation and Supply of Electricity was developed and entered into force. The Hungarian Energy Office (currently: Hungarian Energy and Public Utility Regulatory Authority) was established in 1994. The privatization of the electricity sector took place in several phases. At present, the majority of the power stations and the electricity suppliers (the grid and the distributors) are privately owned.
In Hungary, electricity policy is an integrated part of the energy policy. The most important document upon which the Hungarian electricity market liberalization was founded is Principles of Hungarian Energy Policy and a New Business Model. It was adopted by the Government in 1999 (Government Resolution No. 2199 of 1999).
Hungary became a member state of the European Union in 2004, requiring further harmonization of the Hungarian legal framework with European Union legislation. An important step of the harmonization was the adoption of a new Act on Electricity (Act No. 86 of 2007), which was adopted by the Parliament in 2007. The harmonization and electricity policy objectives were reflected in the act. The aim of the act is the effective operation of the competitive electricity market. Access to the electricity grid is guaranteed at regulated prices. Transmission, distribution and system operation tariffs are set and published by the president of the Hungarian Energy and Public Utility Regulatory Authority. New capacities are established on a commercial basis through an authorization process. The new act regulates the rules of full market opening, which entered into force in 2008.
The energy market was fully opened on 1 January 2008. To supply vulnerable consumers, universal service supplier licences were issued in addition to the licence types previously in use. In parallel with the abolition of the public utility supply, the licence for public utility wholesale was also abolished. The European Commission investigated the compatibility of long term contracts (which aimed to prepare privatization on the single buyer model) with the competitive market. In decision No. C-41 of 2005, published on 4 June 2008, the Commission stated that the contracts implied prohibited state subsidy and ordered they be terminated and the prohibited state subsidy repaid. Thereby, the system of long term contracts ceased to be in force at the end of 2008. Due to the lack of generation sources in the region and the high oil prices, the full market opening resulted in an unexpected price rise on the domestic market. The Electricity Act was again amended in June 2008 to ensure an ‘intervention possibility’ in determining the prices. Based thereon and after identifying the participants with considerable market power, the Hungarian Energy and Public Utility Regulatory Authority (MEKH) ordered MVM Trade Ltd. and GTER Ltd. to apply electricity price caps. The universal service category includes household consumers and (former public utility) low voltage consumers with nominal current not greater than 3×63 A. In this circle, authority (regulated) pricing continues to exist. The competitive market consumers must purchase the power from the traders and sign a network use contract with the network licence holder competent in the relevant area. Authority pricing now concerns only the system use charges; the prices of electricity traders are set by the competitive market. However, network access is ensured for each market participant. In connection with residential consumers (eligible for universal service), on 15 December 2012 the Ministry of National Development issued a decree that stipulated price reductions in electricity (a cut of 10%) as of 1 January 2013. Further price cuts were introduced in 2013 and 2014, reducing the tariffs by 26% altogether. The relevant laws are available on the web site of the MEKH (www.mekh.hu).
The responsibility for providing a reliable, efficient and environmentally friendly energy supply for Hungary currently belongs to the Ministry of National Development (www.nfm.gov.hu), established in 2010. Directly below the top political level, energy issues are handled by the Minister of State for Energy Affairs. Development, competitiveness, security and sustainability are the key words directing the activity of the ministry. However, due to the parliamentary elections of 2018, a new governance structure is currently being formed in Hungary. According to this structural change, the new ministry responsible for energy affairs is the Ministry for Innovation and Technology (http://www.kormany.hu/en/ministry-for-innovation-and-technology).
The MEKH is currently responsible for licensing energy suppliers, supervising the balance of demand and production as well as the standards of service provision, and protecting consumer interests. Pursuant to Section XIX of the Act on Electricity (Act No. 86 of 2007), the MEKH is an independent governmental office with separate and independent financial management. The MEKH is self-financing. Licensees are charged a supervisory and administration fee for their activities. According to Act No. 22 of 2013 on the Hungarian Energy and Public Utilitiy Regulatory Authority Section 7. (1): The president of the office is appointed by the prime minister for seven years. The president may once again be appointed. MEKH resolutions can only be appealed and amended in court. The goal of MEKH is to ensure market operation, to promote competition and to implement the efficiency requirements and principle of least cost, to sustain and improve security of supply and to protect the interests of users and licence holders as well as to regulate prices in order to guarantee fair competition.
The Ministry of Agriculture (http://www.kormany.hu/hu/foldmuvelesugyi-miniszterium) is responsible for environmental issues. The task of the State Secretariat for Environmental Affairs within the ministry is promotion of sustainable development, such as the preservation of air, water and soil quality and the protection of natural assets. In the area of waste management, the ministry has the aim of reducing pollution and facilitating recycling and uptodate treatment of waste.
According to the legislation in force, the approval of the Government or the Parliament is needed for the establishment of power plants above 200 MW capacity. Between 200 and 600 MW capacity, it is the right of the Government to give the approval, while above 600 MW capacity, the Parliament must approve it. Any nuclear installation, including power and research reactors, should be approved by the Parliament, independent of its capacity. In 2009, the Parliament authorized the government to start preparations for new nuclear units to be built at the Paks site.
1.2.2. Structure of electric power sector
In the past decade, Hungary made substantial progress in restructuring its electricity sector and creating a market oriented, fully European Union conforming regulatory framework. Today, the power industry is restructured and partly privatized.
Figure 1 shows the simplified model of the Hungarian electricity industry.
FIG. 1. Hungarian electricity industry.
MVM Hungarian Electricity Ltd.
MVM Hungarian Electricity Ltd. (http://mvm.hu/?lang=en) is a competitive strategic holding company and nationally owned corporate group. MVM Group is an integrated player in the domestic electricity and gas market, and it is also active in the electricity and gas industry in the region. The holding company led by MVM Ltd. has operated as a ‘recognized corporate group’ since 1 June 2007. The group realized earnings before interest, taxes, depreciation and amortization (EBITDA) of HUF 110 billion and a profit after tax of HUF 48 billion against sales of HUF 1 034 billion in 2016.
The integrated structure of the group, reflecting an organizational structure widespread in Europe and conforming to the norms of the European Union, provides a proper background for the fulfilment of its diverse tasks and for the developments which are necessary in the power system.
The strategic target of MVM to 2020 is to double its EBITDA by retaining its existing positions and accessing new growth areas through:
Achieving operational excellence to increase competitiveness;
Partnership in providing energy security;
Integrating the value chain to optimize the value chain and presence in growth areas;
Increasing presence in renewable energy production;
Innovating and providing energy related services;
Expanding in the region.
Currently, the group controls one of the most important sectors of the national economy, the domestic electricity supply. The activities include electricity generation, transmission system operation and electricity trade (wholesale).
MVM is also taking a key role in the natural gas market. Currently, the group is present in all key areas of the business, namely natural gas storage, wholesale and trading.
The key assets/companies of the group include the Paks NPP (2000 MW installed capacity), open cycle gas turbines (526 MW installed capacity), combined heat and power plants (CHPs) (114 MW installed capacity), renewable generation units (23 MW wind, 10 MW solar), MAVIR (Hungarian transmission operator), Hungarian Gas Storage Ltd. (4.43 bm3 storage capacity) and the electricity and gas wholesalers (Hungarian Gas Trade Ltd. and MVM Partner Ltd).
In order to prepare the planned new units, MVM established its new project company, MVM Paks II. Nuclear Power Plant Development Ltd. (MVM Paks II. Ltd. or project company, current name: Paks II. Nuclear Power Plant Ltd.) in 2012. Due to a change of ownership in November 2014 (with the aim of shortening the decision making mechanism), the project company no longer belongs to the MVM Group. It came under direct state control when the Prime Minister’s office obtained the owner’s rights in 2014. From 3 May 2017, the project company’s ownership rights and obligations are exercised by the minister without portfolio responsible for the design, construction and installation of the two new NPP units of Paks.
FIG. 2. The structure of the MVM Group.
The installed capacity of domestic power plants on 31 December 2016 was 8339 MW(e). Compared to the value of 31 December 2015 (8453 MW(e)), it decreased slightly by 114 MW(e). The peak load of the Hungarian electricity system was 6749 MW in 2016, which means an increase of 292 MW compared to 2015 (6457 MW). Though the increase in energy efficiency may help reduce the rate of increase of primary energy consumption, it is still expected that electricity demand will increase. The peak demand will increase between 700 and 1300 MW by 2031. Taking into account the necessary shutdown of old fossil power plants, new generation capacity of between 4500 and 5100 MW is needed by 2031.
The generation mix of the Hungarian electricity system is presently well balanced, with about 17% gas, 52% nuclear, 19% coal and an increasing ratio of renewables. The electricity production from renewable energy sources is growing in accordance with the European Union directive on green electricity. In 2015, renewable based electricity production made up a share of 7.3% of gross final electricity production.
The Hungarian energy supply is around 60% import dependent; therefore, its security is a crucial priority of the National Energy Strategy. The safe, successful and profitable operation of the state owned Paks NPP greatly contributes to meeting this challenge. The obligatory stockpiling of nuclear fuel for two years is also an essential element in ensuring the stability of supply in case of any disturbances in imports.
Companies operating power plants of 50 MW or higher capacity:
There are an additional 200 companies that operate more than 300 (small) power plants under 50 MW capacity.
In Hungary, high voltage electricity is transmitted on a single common transmission line network, which is owned and operated by the Hungarian transmission system operator, MAVIR Ltd. This organization is, at the same time, a member of the MVM Group. The transmission system operator operates according to the independent transmission operator (ITO) model: it operates independently of the other economic operators that use the transmission network, and its independence is prescribed by legislation. In accordance with the relevant statutory regulations, MAVIR Ltd., as an organization independent of other participants in the electricity system, is responsible for ensuring a secure energy supply.
There are six regional distribution companies responsible for operating networks with a voltage of 120 kV and below, as well as supply for customers.
1.2.3. Main indicators
TABLE 3. ELECTRICITY PRODUCTION, CONSUMPTION AND CAPACITY
|Average annual growth rate (%)|
|Capacity of electrical plants (GW(e))|
|- Other renewable***||0.01||0.02||0.36||0.52||0.5||0.29||0.3||0.626||0.684||0.694||0.886||27.7|
|Electricity production (TWh)|
|- Other renewable***||0.02||0.07||1.66||2.30||1.86||1.66||1.86||2.18||2.28||2.22||2.41||8.6|
|Total electricity consumption (TWh)****||17.94||31.3||39.58||38.63||41.98||42.57||42.63||42.55||42.2||42.15||43.98||44.45||45.61||2.6|
1 Electricity transmission losses are not deducted.
* Latest available data.
** Only fossil fuel, and non-renewable municipal waste and industrial waste.
*** Renewable combustible fuel; solar.
**** Gross production + import - export.
—: Data not available.
Sources: Hungarian Power Companies Ltd.; Hungarian Energy and Public Utility Regulatory Authority (only data for 2014, 2015, 2016).
TABLE 4. ENERGY RELATED RATIOS
|Energy consumption per capita (GJ/capita)||116||103||105||112||102||101||107||109||114|
|Electricity consumption per capita (kWh/capita)||3817||3779||4137||4251||4259||4267||4462||4522||4655|
|Electricity production/Energy production (%)||14.4||20.2||21.8||20.9||17.5||17.6||17.8||18.4||19.7|
|Nuclear/Total electricity (%)||48.1||40.3||43.0||42.2||50.7||53.2||52.2||50.6||49.2|
|Ratio of external dependency (%) 1||47.34||54.0||58.9||56.5||49.8||59.7||53.8||55.9||63.1|
1 Net import/Total energy consumption.
* Latest available data.
Source: Hungarian Energy and Public Utility Regulatory Authority.
2. NUCLEAR POWER SITUATION
2.1. HISTORICAL DEVELOPMENT AND CURRENT ORGANIZATIONAL STRUCTURE
The first Hungarian reactor was built for research purposes at Csillebérc, on the outskirts of Budapest in 1959. The reactor, of Soviet origin and refurbished by Hungarian experts after 30 years of operation, was put into operation again by the Atomic Energy Research Institute in 1993. The Budapest Research Reactor is a tank type reactor with 10 MW(th) power and is operated by the Centre for Energy Research of the Hungarian Academy of Sciences (HAS).
The Training Reactor of the Institute of Nuclear Techniques (NTI) of the Budapest University of Technology and Economics (BME) was put into operation in 1971. Since then, the training reactor has been used mainly for the purposes of education in the nuclear field. It is a pool type reactor with 100 kW(th) power.
In 1966, a decision was made to construct an NPP in Hungary. The decision included two WWER-440 type, 230 model reactors. The construction work started in 1968, but was interrupted in 1970 as oil fired stations were considered more economical. The actual construction work started after the oil crisis in 1975. The final decision included four second generation reactors (i.e. WWER-440/213) instead of the two 230 model reactors, all to be part of one NPP. The plant is located about 5 km south of the town Paks, on the right bank of the river Danube. Since 1987, these four reactors have been generating electricity for the Hungarian electric energy system. The original installed capacity of the reactors was 4 × 440 MW(e). Earlier upgrades of the secondary circuit and turbine resulted in an uprated 470 MW(e), with an unchanged thermal capacity at all four units. An upgrade of the primary side was decided, to increase the nominal power by 8% to 1485 MW(th), resulting in about 500 MW(e) generated power per unit. The power uprate was completed in 2009. Based on the application of the operator, HAEA granted 20 year service life extentions for Paks Units 1, 2, 3 and 4.
Hungary’s national policy concerning the application of atomic energy is regulated by law. The basic purposes of Act No. 116 of 1996 are those of protecting the health and safety of the population and protecting the environment. The requirements of the act state that the use of atomic energy is allowed only in a manner provided by law and under the permanent control of the competent authority. Regardless of what aspect of atomic energy is being considered, safety is a priority.
2.1.2. Current organizational chart(s)
MVM Paks Nuclear Power Plant Ltd. (www.npp.hu) — Operates four WWER-440/213 type power reactors.
Paks II. Nuclear Power Plant Ltd. (http://www.paks2.hu) — The goal of the company is to perform the tasks involved in the preparation, establishment, commissioning and operation of the new NPP units at a high professional standard.
Public Limited Company for Radioactive Waste Management (PURAM) (http://www.rhk.hu/en) —Operates the spent fuel interim storage facility at Paks; the radioactive waste treatment and disposal facility at Püspökszilágy, which manages low and intermediate level waste generated by medical, industrial and research applications; as well as the National Radioactive Waste Repository in Bátaapáti, a final disposal facility for low and intermediate level waste generated in the Paks NPP. PURAM is investigating the Boda Claystone Formation in West Mecsek to select a site for high level and long lived radioactive waste.
Hungarian Academy of Sciences Centre for Energy Research (www.energia.mta.hu) — Operates the Budapest Research Reactor.
Institute of Nuclear Techniques of the Budapest University of Technology and Economics (www.reak.bme.hu) — Operates the BME Training Reactor.
Governmental Organizations with Responsibility in Nuclear Field
The HAEA is a public administrative body acting in the field of peaceful applications of atomic energy, with a specified scope of tasks and authority, and is independent from both the organizational and financial points of view. Establishing regulatory duties in connection with the safety of the peaceful application of nuclear energy, particularly with the safety of nuclear facilities under normal and accident conditions and with nuclear emergencies, is a basic task of the HAEA. Acting independently and supervised by a minister appointed by the Prime Minister, the HAEA is primarily concerned with ensuring nuclear safety in accordance with the law. From 2010, the Minister of National Development (after the parliamentary elections of 2018 the Minister for Innovation and Technology) is responsible for the supervision of the HAEA’s activity. The Director General of the HAEA is appointed and relieved by the Prime Minister. The HAEA resolutions can only be appealed and amended in court.
The Ministry of Human Capacities undertakes the tasks of the authority regarding issues related to radiation protection during medical irradiation.
Within the Ministry of Agriculture, the State Secretariat for Environmental Affairs, Agricultural Development and Trademarks is responsible for establishing air and water quality standards, limits on radioactive releases from nuclear facilities, as well as for controlling the emissions at the facilities to the environment.
The HAS Centre for Energy Research was established in January 2012 by two former independent institutions, the Institute of Isotopes and the KFKI Atomic Energy Research Institute. The Institute of Technical Physics and Material Science (MFA) joined the centre on 1 January 2015. The centre is part of the research network of the Hungarian Academy of Sciences (HAS). The web site of the organization can be found at www.energia.mta.hu.
The centre operates the 10 MW(th) Budapest Research Reactor. It is active in several fields of nuclear technology, such as reactor physics, thermohydraulics, health physics, simulator techniques and reactor chemistry. It performs a wide variety of research related to the use of radioactive materials and nuclear techniques, among them a research and development programme for nuclear safeguards. It provides expert support and laboratory equipment for the HAEA. The forensic nuclear laboratory is a unique cooperation between the IAEA and a research institute, providing the HAEA with useful information on nuclear security. Research proposals of the experts of the centre support the HAEA in different fields.
In December 2016, the IAEA appointed MTA EK to the Collaborating Centre of the International Atomic Energy Agency for Nuclear Forensics in Hungary.
The Institute of Nuclear Research (ATOMKI, Debrecen) of the Hungarian Academy of Sciences operates a 20 MeV cyclotron and a 5 MeV Van de Graaff accelerator, and is active in several fields of nuclear physics and nuclear techniques (www.atomki.hu).
The National Research Institute for Radiobiology and Radiohygiene (OSSKI, Budapest) performs a wide spectrum of research, including on the biological effects of radiation and radioisotopes, radiohygiene (operational and environmental), sterilization and detoxification. As of 3 April 2015, the institute merged with National Public Health Centre (Országos Közegészségügyi Központ) (www.osski.hu).
The Nuclear Research Safety Institute (NUBIKI, Budapest) carries out safety analysis and risk assessment of nuclear power plants, including level 1 and 2 probabilistic safety assessment (PSA) and severe accident analysis (www.nubiki.hu).
The Institute of Nuclear Techniques of the Budapest University of Technology and Economics (BME NTI) operates a training reactor; teaches nuclear technology for engineers, physicists, chemists and environmentalists; and performs research in different nuclear related topics (www.reak.bme.hu).
The Power Engineering and Contractor Co., Poyri Eroterv Co. (before 2010: ETV-EROTERV Co., Budapest) works in the fields of design, construction, commissioning and operating management of nuclear facilities. Its activities include waste management (treatment, storage and disposal) (http://www.poyry.hu/).
The Institute of Experimental Physics of the University of Debrecen operates the Laboratory for Nuclear Safety and Techniques, NUBITEL (http://falcon.phys.klte.hu/kisfiz/) and the Quantechnologies Research and Development Co. (http://www.quantec.hu/). The following main fields represent their areas of operation: in situ alpha, beta and gamma activity measurements in NPPs (primary circuit and refueling, storage and technical ponds); exploration and handling of nuclear waste; detection of radioactivity in the environment (NORM/TENORM), underwater gammaspectrometry; data evaluation and trend analysis; and education and training in applied nuclear physics.
The Department of Nuclear Medicine of the University of Debrecen (DE NMI) (http://www.pet.dote.hu/) operates a GE PETtrace cyclotron and a radiochemistry centre, and develops and produces positron labeled radiopharmaceuticals for medical and research purposes. The department takes part in various IAEA training programmes.
The Institute of Radiochemistry and Radioecology at the University of Pannonia has a wide range of topics in research and education in two main fields: radiochemistry and nuclear technology, as well as radioecology and radiation protection (http://radio.mk.uni-pannon.hu/).
2.2. NUCLEAR POWER PLANTS: OVERVIEW
2.2.1. Status and performance of nuclear power plants
Taking into account the energy situation in Hungary, the operation of the only NPP is crucial. The design lifetime of the WWER-440/213 units at Paks is 30 years; the operating licence is formally limited in time by the planned operational lifetime. As in other countries, the current Hungarian legislation for nuclear energy allows the renewal of the operating licence, if the safety of the continuation of the operation can be demonstrated, and the renewal is approved by the responsible authorities.
TABLE 5. STATUS AND PERFORMANCE OF NUCLEAR POWER PLANTS
|Data source: IAEA - Power Reactor Information System (PRIS).|
|Note: Table is completely generated from PRIS data to reflect the latest available information and may be more up to date than the text of the report.|
There are no NPP suppliers in the country; the main components of the Paks NPP were made abroad (i.e. in the former Soviet Union and Czechoslovakia). The main constructor was AEE (Atomenergoexport) and the main architect ERBE-EROTERV (Hungary). Many components of the Russian Federation–designed WWERs were manufactured in the former Council for Mutual Economic Assistance (COMECON) countries under a multilateral agreement.
The Paks NPP generated 16 098 GWh of electric energy in 2017, which represents 50% of the gross domestic electricity production of Hungary. This amount was generated by four units as follows: Unit 1: 3700.78 GWh; Unit 2: 4418.346 GWh; Unit 3: 4026.589 GWh; Unit 4: 3951.884 GWh. As far as the amount of the energy produced, 2017 provided the largest production result in the history of the power plant. The amount of electricity that has been generated by the Paks NPP since the date of the first connection of Unit 1 to the grid was higher than 461.6 TWh at the end of 2017.
2.2.2. Plant upgrading, plant life management and licence renewals
The Paks NPP consists of four WWER-440/213 type reactor units, originally designed to produce 1375 MW(th) and 440 MW(e) each. Earlier upgrades of the secondary circuit and turbine increased the electrical output to about 470 MW(e) in each unit, with no change to thermal capacity. Recently, an upgrade of the primary side was completed that increased the nominal power by 8% to 1485 MW(th), resulting in about 500 MW(e) of power generation by each unit. The power increase is primarily reached by refined primary pressure regulation, a core control system upgrade and the use of a new type of fuel assembly. Additional modifications have been performed in certain technological components such as replacing some of the MCP impellers and decreasing the initiating pressure value of the hydraulic accumulators. By the end of 2009, the uprating process was completed successfully on all four units, and 2010 was the first year the units operated at the increased power level.
In order to enhance its economic and operational efficiency and to improve its position in the market, the Paks NPP began an economical efficiency enhancement programme (EEP), the principal elements of which are enhancing human resource efficiency, power uprating, optimizing maintenance and initiating service life extension.
At the end of 2008, the Paks NPP submitted a lifetime extension programme to the HAEA to justify the establishment of the operating conditions and safe operation beyond the design lifetime. The HAEA evaluated the programme and ordered the licensee to implement the programme with certain conditions. The technical preparation activities covered the determination of the ageing effects and ageing processes requiring treatment, the status of the systems, structures and components, the evaluation of the existing ageing management programmes, and if necessary, the amendment or development of new programmes. The HAEA regularly reviews and evaluates the progress reports of the lifetime extension programme. In December 2011, in compliance with the legal requirements, the Paks NPP submitted the beyond design lifetime licence application for Unit 1, one year before the expiration of its licensed operating time. By the end of 2012, the HAEA had evaluated the licence application and the additional information and made a decision on the extension. On the basis of the review of the approximately 30 000 page licence application, the HAEA stated that nuclear safety requirements were fulfilled and safe operation was ensured. The HAEA’s granted the operating licence for all units for an additional 20 years, subject to the periodic safety assessment of the units. The last licence was granted to Unit 4 in December 2017. In December 2015, the HAEA issued a licence to introduce a 15 month operation interval at Units 1–4 of the Paks NPP, and as a preliminary measure, to implement a new type of fuel assembly with a mean enrichment of 4.7%.
2.3. FUTURE DEVELOPMENT OF NUCLEAR POWER
2.3.1. Nuclear power development strategy
The construction of new units at the Paks site was proposed in order to meet future electricity demand. In 2011 the Parliament accepted the National Energy Strategy 2030, which calculates on a ‘nuclear–coal–green’ scenario and long term preservation of nuclear energy in the energy mix.
Under Hungary’s Act on Atomic Energy, the government needs to obtain a decision in principle from the Parliament in order to start any preparatory activity that could lead to the construction of a new nuclear installation. On 30 March 2009, members of the Hungarian Parliament gave their decision in principle with more than 90% of the votes in support of it.
After this, preparation for the construction of the new units commenced. The activities included preparations for obtaining environmental and site licences. A survey was also initiated to determine the possible suppliers for the construction of the new units and the demand for the necessary labour.
In order to prepare the planned new units, MVM established its new project company, MVM Paks II. Nuclear Power Plant Development Ltd. (MVM Paks II. Ltd. or project company, current name: Paks II. Nuclear Power Plant Ltd.) in 2012. Since November 2014, due to a change in ownership, the project company no longer belongs to the MVM Group. It came under direct state control when the Prime Minister’s office obtained the owner’s rights in 2014. From 3 May 2017, the project company’s ownership rights and obligations are exercised by the minister without portfolio responsible for the design, construction and installation of the two new NPP units of Paks.
Update of the Nuclear Safety Regulation
The HAEA started preparations for the licensing of the new units by reviewing four important areas: regulatory requirements, the licensing framework, technological and safety characteristics of possible new units and the international framework. The most important goal of the HAEA is to adopt the strictest requirements set by the latest findings of science and technology. As part of the review process, the representatives of the nuclear industry, the HAEA and the Hungarian National Standard Committee agreed on the promulgation of a series of international standards specific to NPPs to cover the necessary technical fields for which Hungarian National Standards were not available. The first series of standards covering the principles of instrumentation, control room and emergency control room design, display of safety parameters, detection of leakages and loose parts in the primary circuit, neutron flux monitoring, radiation monitoring and alarming were published as Hungarian National Standards in January 2011.
According to the Act on Atomic Energy, the safety requirements for use of nuclear energy shall be regularly reviewed and modernized, taking into account the achievements of science and international experience. Government Decree No. 89 of 2005. (V. 5.) states that the Nuclear Safety Code shall be reviewed and updated if necessary, at least every five years. As a result of the review, Government Decree No. 118 of 2011. (VII. 11.) on nuclear safety requirements of the nuclear facilities and on the related legal activities was issued and entered into force on 10 August 2011. The reviewed Nuclear Safety Code was published in annexes to the Government decree.
The requirements related to the new nuclear facilities were developed (Vol. 9 of the Nuclear Safety Code) and the extended set of regulations entered into force on 1 April 2012 by Government Decree No. 37 of 2012 (III. 9.).
Based on the nuclear safety codes in the field of nuclear safety, it is mandatory to present an independent technical expert’s opinion with the licence applications for plant modifications. The registration and evaluation process for these technical experts is prescribed in the Act on Atomic Energy (Act No. 116 of 1996) and its implementation decree (Government Decree No. 247 of 2011).
Comprehensive modification of the Nuclear Safety Code was undertaken in the second half of 2014, covering the results of the revision of the WENRA requirements, and also the results of other countries’ NPP construction experience, including relevant Finnish and British regulations and also the Hungarian licencing experience.
In order to be prepared for the construction of new NPP units, Vol. 3/A of the Nuclear Safety Code, on nuclear safety requirements to be applied during the design, was published in 2015.
In addition to the continuous development of IAEA recommendations and WENRA reference levels, the Hungarian regulations are reviewed and revised more frequently than the five year review period stipulated by law.
The latest five year review of the Nuclear Safety Code was carried out in 2017–2018. New rules were built in by Government Decree No. 70 of 2018. (IV. 9.), meaning a comprehensive amendment of Government Decree No. 118 of 2011. (VII. 11.).
In 2017–2018, regulatory harmonization was also made. On the one hand, Government Decree No. 457 of 2017 (XII. 28.) made the appropriate changes in order to fit in the introduced general administrative regime. On the other hand, Government Decree No. 28 of 2018 (II. 28.) ensures compliance with Council Directive 2013/59/EURATOM of 5 December 2013, which lays down basic safety standards for protection against the dangers arising from exposure to ionizing radiation, and repealing Directives 89/618/Euratom, 90/641/Euratom, 96/29/Euratom, 97/43/Euratom and 2003/122/Euratom.
188.8.131.52. Establishment of the contractual and legal framework of the new build project
In January 2014, the Hungarian Government signed a bilateral agreement (intergovernmental agreement, IGA) with the Russian Federation on cooperation in the peaceful use of nuclear energy. The agreement was promulgated in Act No. 2 of 2014. The agreement covers, among other things, the cooperation necessary for replacing the capacity of the Paks NPP, which means the planning and construction of two new nuclear units at the Paks site. In accordance with the IGA, on 28 March 2014, the Government of Hungary and the Government of the Russian Federation signed an agreement on the provision of a state credit (financial IGA, FIGA) of maximum EUR 10 billion to Hungary to finance 80% of the project (for funding details, see Section 2.3.2.). This agreement was promulgated in Act No. 24 of 2014. As promulgated acts, these agreements (IGA, FIGA) are entirely available to the public.
Also in 2014, the Hungarian nuclear licensing regulatory framework was revised, modernized and made fit for instant licensing procedures. As a result, Act No. 7 of 2015 (the Project Act) was adopted by the Hungarian Parliament and the licensing and investment environment of the project was successfully created. The new rules include an extension of the staff and the remuneration of the main licensing authority (Hungarian Atomic Energy Authority, HAEA) and an increase of the timeframe available for the HAEA to evaluate the construction licensing documentation from 6 months to 18+3 or 12+12+3 months.
A Government commissioner was also assigned by Government Resolution No. 1358 of 2014 (VI. 30.) to supervise and support the project from 1 July 2014. Since November 2014, the MVM Paks II. Ltd. has been under direct state ownership and was controlled by the minister leading the Prime Minister’s office. From 3 May 2017, MVM Paks II. Ltd.’s ownership rights and obligations have been exercised by the minister without portfolio responsible for the design, construction and installation of the two new NPP units of Paks.
After negotiations in the second half of 2014, MVM Paks II. Ltd. and the Russian Joint Stock Company Nizhny Novgorod Engineering Company Atomenergoproekt (JSC-NIAEP) signed three implementation agreements on 9 December 2014. These agreements include: 1) the engineering, procurement and construction contract (EPC) for two WWER-1200 type new nuclear units; 2) an operation and maintenance support contract; and 3) a nuclear fuel supply contract. In April 2015, the Euratom Supply Agency cosigned the nuclear fuel supply contract. On 1 January 2015, the implementation of the EPC began. With the intergovernmental agreements and the implementation agreements, the project’s fundamental elements — its contractual framework — were established.
From November 2015 to April 2017, more investigations were conducted by the European Commission (EC). During this period, the implementation of the EPC was suspended by the EC. After closing the last investigation regarding the state aid of the Paks II investment, the standstill ended.
Given the fact that a new administrative regime came into force on 1 January 2018 (Act No. 150 of 2016 on General Administrative Regulations), it was necessary to adapt the Act on Atomic Energy to the aforesaid law. In the light of the above, Act No. 50 of 2017 has made the necessary amendments to the Act on Atomic Energy.
In accordance with the provisions in force, the procedural timeframe available for the HAEA to evaluate the construction licensing documentation is 12 months, which in justified cases may be extended by three months.
184.108.40.206. Ongoing licensing and pre-construction work
The preparations for construction of the new units are coordinated by Paks II. Ltd (project company) and the minister without portfolio responsible for the design, construction and installation of the two new NPP units of Paks.
As a first step, the site investigation and evaluation programme was developed and submitted to the HAEA (Hungarian Atomic Energy Authority) for approval. The Paks II. Ltd. submitted the site investigation and evaluation licence in April 2014 and the HAEA granted the licence on 14 November 2014, with conditions.
Thereafter, on 2 April 2015, the Geological Research Programme began, in compliance with the approved site investigation and evaluation programme and was completed on 31 December 2016.
In the framework of the above mentioned programme, various investigations were carried out on and around the site of the new NPP. The implementation of the programme was under the regulatory control of the HAEA. The HAEA carried out these tasks in two ways: it evaluated the regular status reports, which was requested by the authority decision (Paks II. Ltd. had a regular reporting obligation on the progress of the project) and it performed the on the spot audits.
Based on the site investigation and evaluation results, Paks II. Ltd. compiled a site licence application, which was submitted to the HAEA on 27 October 2016. The site licence was issued by the HAEA on 27 March 2017, with conditions.
The main purposes of the site licensing process were:
Exclusion of circumstances at the site which would incapacitate the establishment of NPP units;
Definition of design bases which are necessary for the technical design of the facility.
The Environmental Regulatory Authority (Government Office of Baranya County) — considering that the environmental licence application meets the requirements of the environmental and nature protection requirements of the European Union and Hungary and taking into account the experiences of domestic and international public hearings and professional consultations —on 29 September 2016 issued the first level environmental licence stating that two new NPP units could be set up and operated on-site (the parcel number 7031 Paks, 8803/16 and 8803/17).
Energiaklub and Greenpeace Hungary submitted an appeal against the environmental licence on 17 October 2016.
On 18 April 2017, the Government Office of Pest County, the authority of the second instance, upheld the environmental licence issued at first instance, which became legally binding.
Energiaklub and Greenpeace Hungary challenged the licence in court, but the court refused their claim, as the claim did not meet the legal deadline.
Please click on the link below to find the documentation related to the environmental licensing (in Hungarian):
Preliminary electricity licence for powerplant implementation:
In case of the establishment of a power plant with a power rating of 500 MW and above (a power plant with a significant influence on the electricity system) the preliminary licence of the MEKH must be acquired by the licensee. On 12 October 2017, the MEKH issued this licence under the Electricity Act to Paks II. Ltd. In view of the above, Paks II. Ltd. has been authorized to initiate further licensing procedures for new NPP units.
The MEKH defines the technical requirements of Paks II. Ltd. as having to satisfy the requirements of the security and safe operation and balance of the electricity system and the conditions which must be met in the case of the issue of a permit for an electicity implementation licence in the interests of operational safety and security of supply.
Preliminary water licence:
The preliminary water licence was submitted on 13 December 2014 by Paks II. Ltd. to the Fejér County Directorate for Disaster Management. The preliminary water licence is intended to bind the necessary water resources and to define the technical conditions for detailed design.
On 12 June 2017 the Fejér County Directorate for Disaster Management issued to Paks II. Ltd the water licence for the cooling water from the Danube and related water facilities and water uses, which became legally binding on 30 June 2017.
The preliminary water licence defines the specifications and requirements that will have to be taken into account in the design documentation to be submitted for applications for water licences.
Preconstrucion work in 2017:
Following the European Commission’s investigations, the following main activities were restarted:
Compiling licencing documentations of construction/erection base buildings;
Preparation of basic design and preliminary safety analysis reports;
Compiling documentation for a nuclear construction licence application;
Site preparation activities.
Remaining ongoing pre-construction activities
In 2018, the main task will be to prepare the construction licence application and related documentation.
TABLE 6. PLANNED NUCLEAR POWER PLANTS
|Station/project name||Type||Capacity||Expected construction start year||Expected commercial year|
|Paks 5||WWER-1200||1200 MW(e)||2020||2025|
|Paks 6||WWER-1200||1200 MW(e)||2021||2026|
2.3.2. Project management
The delivery of the new nuclear power plant units will be a turnkey project.
2.3.3. Project funding
Accordig to the FIGA, the Russian Party (Russian Federation) grants the Hungarian Party (Hungary) a maximum amount of 10 billion EUR credit that will finance 80% of the contract price of the EPC. The Hungarian State will finance 20% of the contract price .
Conditions of the credit line available to the Hungarian state as set out in the FIGA are as follows:
Disbursement period: 2014–2025.
Credit amount: 80% of the agreed amount of EPC, maximum EUR 10 billion.
Repayment period: 21 years:
Years 1–7: 25% of the whole amount;
Years 8–14: 35% of the whole amount;
Years 15–21: 40% of the whole amount.
During the investment period: 3.95%;
First seven years of repayment: 4.50%;
Second seven years of repayment: 4.80%;
Third seven years of repayment: 4.95%.
Commitment fee: 0.25% of the undisbursed amount from the preliminarily agreed annual credit line.
2.3.4. Electricity grid development
A new high voltage substation and a new double circuit overhead line of 400 kV are planned to be constructed. In order to provide increased reliability, the new substation and the substation of the existing nuclear power plant will be connected by means of two coupling lines of 400 kV.
The planned installation site of the new Paks II nuclear power plant units falls within the boundaries of the site of the Paks NPP. The Paks NPP is located in Tolna County, 118 km south of Budapest. The plant lies 5 km south of the centre of Paks, 1 km west of the River Danube and 1.5 km east of Main Road No. 6.
2.4. ORGANIZATIONS INVOLVED IN CONSTRUCTION OF NPPs
Paks II. Nuclear Power Plant Ltd. (http://www.paks2.hu/).
Atomstroyexport Engineering Company (http://www.atomstroyexport.ru/...).
2.5. ORGANIZATIONS INVOLVED IN OPERATION OF NPPs
The MVM Paks Nuclear Power Plant Ltd. is a state owned business entity. MVM Hungarian Electricity Ltd. holds 100% of the shares (with authority granted by the state). The operator is the MVM Paks Nuclear Power Plant Ltd. The technical support organizations (TSOs) are listed in Section 2.1.2 (current organizational chart).
2.6. ORGANIZATIONS INVOLVED IN DECOMMISSIONING OF NPPs
For decommissioning, a multistep licensing procedure is established, in which the first step is to obtain the authorities’ consent to terminate operation. A further requirement is a valid environmental protection licence based on an environmental impact assessment and public hearings. As in all phases of the life cycle of a facility, radiation protection authorities are involved in these licensing processes, and they licence the appropriate radiation protection programme and radiation protection organization separately.
During the dismantling, decontamination and other steps, an ongoing task of the authority is the control of the radiation situation within the facility and around it, including the monitoring of personal doses and discharges, as well as of the radiation in the environment. Emergency plans have to be updated with new or likely scenarios and any necessary organizational changes must be adjusted accordingly.
The Public Limited Company for Radioactive Waste Management (PURAM) is a 100% state owned, non-profit enterprise, which was established by the Director General of the HAEA on behalf of the Government. Its tasks, as set out by the Act on Atomic Energy, include the final disposal of radioactive waste, the interim storage of spent fuel, the closure of the nuclear fuel cycle and the decommissioning of nuclear installations. The ownership of PURAM (previously exercised by the HAEA) was transferred to Hungarian National Asset Management Inc. at the end of 2013, but the regulatory tasks remained among the responsibilities of the HAEA.
2.7. FUEL CYCLE, INCLUDING WASTE MANAGEMENT
Hungary has 20 000 metric tonnes of exploitable uranium resources and 10 000 metric tons of additional reserves. There are three areas in Hungary where uranium occurrences are known, but only one region in the Mecsek Mountains has been exploited. Hungary mined uranium ore, which was processed into yellowcake at Mecsek and then shipped to the Russian Federation. Fuel cycle services were guaranteed by the former USSR when Hungary purchased Soviet reactors, including the fabrication and shipping of the fabricated fuel assemblies to Hungary, and the return of the spent fuel to the former USSR. Hungary does not have other fuel cycle capabilities such as fuel conversion, enrichment or fabrication.
There are no reprocessing capabilities in Hungary, and no plans to develop any.
A new type of fuel assembly with improved parameters was introduced at the Paks NPP. The enrichment of the new fuel is increased and it contains burnable poison (Gd isotope). The increased enrichment enhances the economic efficiency of the fuel cycles, while the application of the burnable poison compensates for the negative effects of the increased enrichment on the safety features of the reactors and the transport and storage devices. This change conforms with a worldwide trend. In 2010, test operation of 18 assemblies was completed following licensing in 2009. The preliminary use of the test assemblies was necessary for the validation of the design computer codes. When the test programme was finished successfully, the HAEA issued a licence for the general use of the new fuel. On this basis, the first batch of the new fuel assemblies was loaded at Unit 4 in 2010. The results of a special inspection programme showed that the behavior of the fuel assemblies is in harmony with the preliminary estimates and design requirements. The transition to the new fuel will be finished gradually during the next 4–5 years.
National Policy and National Programme on the Management of Spent Fuel and Radioactive Waste
The basis for creating the National Programme was Parliamentary Resolution No. 21 of 2015 (V.4) on the adoption of the National Policy on the management of spent fuel and radioactive waste in line with the provisions of Directive 2011/70/EURATOM. The National Policy defines the basic principles of the management of all radioactive waste and spent fuel produced in Hungary upon which the National Programme was developed and adopted by the Government in 2016.
An important feature of the Hungarian National Programme is that the decision maker has not yet found it necessary to make a final decision on the back end of the fuel cycle. Although reprocessing of spent fuel has never been done in Hungary, the option of future reprocessing (only abroad) is worth preserving.
Nevertheless, it is clear that a domestic deep geological repository is necessary for Hungary, regardless of any decision on the back end of the nuclear fuel cycle. Not only reprocessing of spent fuel, but also operation and decommissioning activities, will inevitably lead to some amount of HLW.
Being aware of this, the National Policy requires a flexible (reversible) yet active approach: the so-called ‘DO and SEE’ policy. It means that instead of allowing delay in real actions (for instance, until the final political decision on the back end is known), a real and ongoing research programme for a deep geological repository is required.
While a final decision on reprocessing (only abroad) is not yet available, research and other planning activities for implementing the national programme should be based on a reference scenario, which is currently the direct disposal of spent fuel in a domestic deep geological repository, together with other HLW arising from operation and decommissioning.
Naturally, the flexible nature of the ‘DO and SEE’ policy cannot be sustained forever. Eventually, when research and repository development activities require that the waste packages be characterized, it will become necessary to make a clear and final decision on the back end of the nuclear fuel cycle.
According to the Hungarian–Soviet Intergovernmental Agreement on Cooperation in the Construction of the Paks NPP, concluded on 28 December 1966, and the Protocol concluded on 1 April 1994 attached to this Agreement, the Soviet and/or Russian party undertook to accept spent fuel assemblies from the Paks NPP in such a manner that the radioactive waste and other by-products arising from the reprocessing of such fuel would not be returned to Hungary. Until 1992, the return of the spent fuel assemblies was conducted without problems, under conditions which were very favourable for Hungary, but which nevertheless deviated from normal international practice. In the interest of ensuring undisturbed operation of the NPP, it became necessary to find an interim solution (50 years) for the storage of spent fuel assemblies.
The Spent Fuel Interim Storage Facility (SFISF) (designed by GEC Alsthom UK) at the Paks site is a “modular vault dry storage” type spent fuel storage facility which has been receiving irradiated fuel assemblies from the Paks NPP since 1997. The increase of storage capacity is in line with the demands of the Paks NPP. The 33 planned vaults are assumed to be capable of storing all spent fuel until the end of the extended service life of the plant. At present, 24 vaults are ready allowing for storage of 11,416 spent fuel assemblies. Beginning with vault number 17, a square arrangement is applied for the storage tubes instead of the triangular arrangement that is used in vaults 1–16; consequently, 527 spent fuel assemblies can be stored instead of the original 450.
According to a recently elaborated concept, it is possibile to further increase the capacity per vault. By the new storage concepts licenced for vault numbers 25 through 33 in 2017, a single vault will be able to store 703 spent fuel assemblies in the future. When the storage facility reaches its maximum planned capacity, it will be able to store a total of 17,743 fuel assemblies in the 33 vaults.
The basic regulation in force at present, Act No. 116 of 1996 on Atomic Energy, expresses Hungary’s national policy in the application of atomic energy. Among other aspects, it regulates the management of radioactive waste and authorizes the Government and the competent Ministers to issue executive orders specifying the most important requirements in this field. The Hungarian Parliament approved the Act on Atomic Energy in December 1996; the Act entered into force on 1 June 1997. Significant amendments were made in the Act on Atomic Energy in 2013. The recent amendment took into consideration the requirement of the relevant EU directive to reformulate the task to be performed in relation with the management of spent nuclear fuel and radioactive waste. The act prescribes that Parliament’s preliminary approval in principle is required to initiate activities for preparing the establishment of radioactive waste repositories. From July 2014, the authority for the repositories of radioactive waste is the HAEA.
In accordance with the basic rules laid down in the act, radioactive waste management shall not impose any undue burden on future generations. To satisfy this requirement, the long term costs of waste disposal and of decommissioning the NPP shall be paid by the generations that enjoy the benefits of nuclear energy production and applications of isotopes. Accordingly, by the act and its executive orders, a Central Nuclear Financial Fund was established on 1 January 1998 to finance radioactive waste disposal, interim storage of spent fuel, the closure of the nuclear fuel cycle as well as the decommissioning of nuclear facilities. The Government authorized the director general of the HAEA to establish the Public Agency for Radioactive Waste Management; this agency has been in operation since 2 June 1998. In line with the corporate forms used in the European Union, the Public Agency for Radioactive Waste Management has been transformed, as of 7 January 2008, into the Public Limited Company for Radioactive Waste Management (PURAM).
On the basis of the act, PURAM shall design and carry out radioactive waste management in such a way that it shall be safe during the whole duration of the activity and it shall not affect human health and the environment abroad to a greater extent than the accepted value within the country.
In the field of radioactive waste management, the following projects are under way:
(a) Disposal of high level and long lived radioactive waste
In 1995, a programme was launched for solving the problem of the disposal of high level and long lived radioactive waste. Although there is no final decision yet on the closure of the nuclear fuel cycle, a domestic deep geological repository must be built in any case for other high level waste, including decommissioning waste. The programme focuses on investigations in the area of the Boda Claystone Formation in west Mecsek. Currently, surface based investigations are taking place, including trenching, drilling boreholes and geological and geomorphological mapping. An underground research laboratory is planned to operate from 2038 to 2054, and the repository will operate from 2064.
(b) Disposal of low and intermediate level radioactive waste (L/ILW) from the Paks NPP: National Radioactive Waste Repository (NRWR) in Bátaapáti
For the disposal of low and intermediate level radioactive waste from the Paks NPP — following a country wide screening and to bolster public acceptance — explorations were carried out in the vicinity of Bátaapáti (Tolna County, about 65 km southwest of Paks). Reflecting the results of extensive research work, the Hungarian Geological Survey declared the site geologically suitable for housing a L/ILW geological repository. In November 2005, after a decade spent on siting investigations, the Hungarian Parliament gave its preliminary approval in principle for the construction of the repository by the Resolution of the Parliament No. 85 of 2005 (XI. 23). It is a formal requirement in accordance with the Act on Atomic Energy. Prior to the vote in Parliament, a local referendum was held, and nearly 91% of the large number of voters (voting percentage 75%) agreed that a L/ILW repository should be established in Bátaapáti.
In addition to the ongoing underground research activities, both the licensing procedure and the preparation for construction started in 2006. The competent authority issued the environmental licence in 2007. The construction licence for the surface part (central and technological buildings) and for four underground disposal chambers entered into force in 2008. By October 2008, the surface buildings of the NRWR were completed. Later, the authority granted an operating licence that was valid for the surface part of the facility. The operating licence allows the buffer storage of 3000 drums (with a capacity of 200 litres each) containing low and intermediate level solid radioactive waste from the Paks NPP. The first transports of waste were delivered to the facility at the end of 2008. After completion of excavation work for the first two underground disposal chambers, the first chamber of the repository was put into operation in 2012. The second disposal chamber received an operating licence in 2017. The third and fourth chambers were excavated in 2015. The capacity of NRWR will meet the demand of the Paks NPP, and the underground space will be extended to make it sufficient for the entire lifetime of the Hungarian NPP.
(c) Radioactive waste treatment and disposal facility in Püspökszilágy
The radioactive waste treatment and disposal facility (RWTDF) was built for the disposal of institutional radioactive waste. The low level, solid waste from the Paks NPP was transported to the repository in Püspökszilágy only as a provisional solution. At the same time, the capacity of the RWTDF was built for the disposal of institutional radioactive waste. The low level, solid waste from the Paks NP was increased with the financial support of the power plant. The total capacity of the repository is now 5040 m3. The operating licence for the RWTDF was renewed by the HAEA in 2017 for 50 years.
At the same time, the results of the safety assessments unambiguously indicated that certain spent radiation sources may pose a risk in the distant future, after the closure of the repository, in the event of inadvertent human intrusion. Therefore, with the aim of enhancing the long term safety of the repository, a multi-year programme was launched in the framework of which the ‘critical’ waste types are segregated from the retrieved waste and then the rest are — as far as possible — compacted before redisposal in the vaults. By doing so, the repository — which used up its capacity in 2004 — can continue to accommodate the institutional radioactive waste from all over the country.
In order to provide the possibility of large scale waste retrieval, it is necessary for the long term to build a large, light structure hall which can ensure appropriate working conditions and satisfies the radiation safety and environmental protection functions necessary for the work. The documentation supporting the building licence for the light structure building has been prepared, and the Hungarian Atomic Energy Authority has granted the building licence based on it. Preparation of building of this structure was started at the end of 2017, and processing works are planned after 2019.
2.8. Research and Development
2.8.1. R&D organizations
The legal framework for implementation of the R&D programme is established in the Act on Atomic Energy, according to which the technical support activities needed for improving the safety of the peaceful application of nuclear energy shall be financed via the HAEA. Thus, it is the responsibility of the HAEA to manage the scientific-technical support for the nuclear safety and security regulatory activities. For maintaining the quality of such a complex programme, the HAEA defined its basic principles and requirements for performing technical support activities. The scientific-technical support is provided by a group of scientific-technical institutions and other engineering organizations (technical support organizations — TSOs). As a rule, the scientific-technical cooperation with the strategic partner TSOs (with a wide range of competency in nuclear facility operation and regulation) is based on a long term agreement accepted and signed by both the HAEA and the partner TSOs. At present, there are several strategic partner TSOs, including the HAS Centre for Energy Research (CER), the Nuclear Safety Research Institute (NUBIKI) and the Institute of Nuclear Techniques of the Budapest University of Technology and Economy (BME NTI). The requested technical support from a TSO is described in a contract in which the deadline and the expected quality are further defined. In urgent regulatory matters the strategic TSO partners — based on the above mentioned strategic agreement — provide technical support quickly, flexibly and free of charge. The system of TSOs ensures that the HAEA has the appropriate engineering and scientific reserve capacities to handle situations which need fast and technically correct decisions.
To efficiently harmonize TSO cooperation, the HAEA developed a medium term R&D concept, which is regularly updated. The R&D concept assigns the main goals — the area of the support programme. The most important R&D areas are: development of the regulatory framework, support and modernization of the regulatory work, new nuclear facilities, decommissioning and radioactive waste management, development of operational safety, development of risk informed supervisory instruments, analysis of beyond design basis and severe accidents, nuclear emergency response, nuclear material accountancy and control, supervision of radioactive material, physical protection and regulatory control of radioactive waste storage facilities.
Collection of data about knowledge and competencies (so-called knowledge profile) of TSOs was started in 2005, and TSOs are permanently surveyed about their competencies and cooperation affinity in ten main areas of regulatory interest, divided into 48 specific subareas. Based on the demands connected with new build units, the knowledge profile of TSOs was completely reviewed in 2015. As a result of the review, TSOs can offer their expertise in 26 main areas, which can be divided into 180 specific subareas. Also as a result, it can be concluded that in Hungary all major scientific-technical areas important for nuclear safety are covered by research or technical institutions.
2.8.2. Development of advanced nuclear technologies
The attention of research organizations is also attracted by other nuclear systems. The Generation-4 SCWR (more accurately, its European version, HPLWR) is currently being studied in Hungary in the framework of a nationally financed project which provides a good background for participating in a European Union project with a similar aim and in several bilateral cooperation projects. The decision on constructing ITER also attracts scientists to deal with various aspects of fusion technology rather than restricting themselves to plasma physics.
The Centre for Energy Research, together with its Czech, Slovak and Polish partners and with the strong technical support of the French Alternative Energies and Atomic Energy Commission (CEA), in 2010 started preparatory activities to launch the ALLEGRO project to establish a 75 MW(th) demonstration of gas fast reactor technology. These preparatory activities include:
Finalizing the design and safety concept of the ALLEGRO reactor;
Clarifying fuel related problems;
Defining the R&D needs for starting the licensing and construction of ALLEGRO;
Paving the way to licence ALLEGRO by the nuclear safety authorities;
Preparing the outline of the environmental impact assessment (EIA);
Defining the technical details of site selection;
Proposing the method of site selection;
Defining the governance structure of the project;
Organizing the political support and financial support of the project.
Most of these activities will be concluded in 2014; however, R&D activities will continue in the medium and long term.
In July 2013, four nuclear research institutes and engineering companies from central Europe’s Visegrád Group (V4) of nations decided to establish a centre of excellence for joint research, development and innovation on Generation IV nuclear reactors. The V4G4 Centre of Excellence is registered in Slovakia, managed by a steering committee and is being set up by scientific and research engineering company ÚJV Rež AS of the Czech Republic, the Academy of Sciences Centre for Energy Research (MTA EK) of Hungary, Poland’s National Centre for Nuclear Research (NCBJ) and engineering company VUJE AS of Slovakia. The preparatory phase is ongoing; the centre is set to be operational by 2020.
2.8.3. International cooperation and initiatives
In Hungary, both the licensees and the HAEA maintain wide ranging relations with various international organizations and other international fora, with other countries and institutions involved in the design, manufacture, installation and operation of nuclear facilities and research institutes.
These relations serve as a means of exchanging knowledge and experience. The fact that Hungarian experts are held in high esteem internationally is demonstrated by their active role on different committees, with many of them being board members of international organizations or invited as experts.
Hungary has been a Member of the International Atomic Energy Agency since 1957 and the OECD Nuclear Energy Agency since 1996.
Hungary has bilateral international agreements with Australia, Austria, Canada, Croatia, the Czech Republic, Germany, the Republic of Korea, Romania, the Russian Federation, Serbia, Slovakia, Slovenia, Ukraine, the United States of America, Viet Nam and Saudi Arabia.
The HAEA has concluded several memoranda of understanding on cooperation and mutual information exchange with other regulatory authorities, i.e. those of Belarus, the Czech Republic, Finland, Morocco, Poland, Romania, the Russian Federation, Slovakia, Turkey, Ukraine and the United States of America.
Regional programmes organized by the European Union and the IAEA play an important role in cooperation between the regulatory authorities of neighbouring countries. Moreover, the HAEA is taking part in quadrilateral cooperation with the Czech Republic, Slovakia and Slovenia.
The HAEA takes part in several international cooperative activities, including:
International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA);
Nuclear Energy Agency of the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD/NEA);
European Atomic Energy Community (EURATOM);
Comprehensive Nuclear-Test-Ban Treaty Organization (CTBTO).
Nuclear Suppliers Group (NSG);
European Nuclear Safety Regulators Group (ENSREG);
Western European Nuclear Regulators Association (WENRA);
European Safeguards Research and Development Association (ESARDA);
European Nuclear Security Regulators’ Association (ENSRA);
Heads of the European Radiological Protection Competent Authorities (HERCA);
European Association of Competent Authorities (EURACA);
Forum of the regulatory bodies of the countries operating WWERs (WWER Forum).
The Paks NPP is a member of several international bodies of major importance, including the World Association of NPP Operators (WANO), the WWER-440 operators’ club, the WWER users’ group, the International Nuclear Safety Programme (the so-called Lisbon Initiative) and the Nuclear Maintenance Experience Exchange (NUMEX). MVM Paks II. Ltd. is also a member of WANO.
PURAM takes part in activities of relevant international organizations (IAEA, OECD/NEA, etc.) and maintains bilateral contacts with other companies involved in radioactive waste management in other countries.
The Hungarian Nuclear Society is a member of the European Nuclear Society (ENS), and the Health Physics Section of the Eötvös Loránd Physical Society is a member of the International Radiation Protection Association.
The technical support organizations of the HAEA take part in international activities, including the working groups of the OECD/NEA.
2.9. Human Resources Development
The Institute of Nuclear Techniques of the Budapest University of Technology and Economy (BME NTI) operates a training reactor with the nominal power of 100 kW(th). Using this unique facility, the university developed special nuclear education programmes for physics and energy engineering students at the undergraduate and graduate levels. A medical physics specialization of the Physics Masters programme has also been available since 2010. BME offers postgraduate nuclear training for engineers working in or willing to work in the nuclear industry. Special training courses for foreign students — with durations of 6 weeks to 3 months — are available at the institute.
There is a particle accelerator at the University of Debrecen, another resource for specialists in the field of nuclear sciences.
At the Faculty of Science of Eötvös Loránd University (ELTE), the students of the physics faculty also learn about nuclear techniques and practice at the CER.
The Paks NPP has its own training organization, which operates a state of the art training infrastructure. The training organization provides initial and refresher training both for its own employees and contractor staff. The training system is operated on the basis of the IAEA Systematic Approach to Training (SAT) system. Job specific training programmes and training materials are available for all the job positions related to nuclear safety. As part of the training infrastructure, there is a full scope replica simulator for operator training. For training the maintenance and technical support staff a unique Maintenance Training Centre is available, equipped with real primary circuit equipment such as a reactor vessel and its internals. The training organization cooperates broadly with national and international institutes and universities in the human resource development area.
Hungarian Atomic Energy Authority
At the HAEA, the inspectors take part in a predefined training programme, which is reviewed annually. The training plan is divided into three parts: the training of newcomers, refresher training and specific training. The training plan also utilizes the results of R&D projects.
Newcomers to the HAEA also complete a special training course. It includes all important fields related to the HAEA responsibility areas, in addition to special training courses at the NPP and at the other licensees. After fulfilling the predefined training programme, the newcomers have to pass the so-called inspector exam, where they analyse real events regarding the licensing, supervision and investigation process of the HAEA.
The longer term training programme contains training directions based on the knowledge profile survey and on the future projects and strategy of the HAEA, such as bigger systems for the Paks NPP, lifetime extension at the Paks NPP, decommissioning, R&D projects and legal environment.
At the initiation of the director general of the HAEA, following thorough negotiations conducted in 2009, the representative of the leading Hungarian nuclear organizations established the Hungarian Nuclear Knowledge Management Database System on 22 June 2010 by signing a joint cooperation agreement at the headquarters of the HAEA. The main objective of the system is to collect and maintain the Hungarian documentation of the expertise accumulated during the application of atomic energy for future generations. This continuously updated common database facilitates the sharing of knowledge and information within the nuclear community.
The code of conduct developed by the editorial committee was signed on 15 December 2010, and established the administrative conditions and the technical provisions for the operation of the knowledge management database. Consequently, the ordinary use of the “common electronic repository” of the Hungarian nuclear community started in 2010. The uploading of documents is ongoing; the database currently consists of approximately 9000 documents.
2.10. Stakeholder Involvement
In the area of stakeholder involvement, the Hungarian Atomic Energy Authority is:
Arranging public hearings in all facility level licensing procedures to ensure transparency and openness;
Organizing “About Atomic Energy — to Everyone” student conferences, forums and meetings for other authorities, for licensees;
Publishing a wide range of documents on its web site, such as country reports (Convention on Nuclear Safety, Joint Convention), annual reports, legal frameworks, guiding documents and all relevant news and events;
Publishing draft version of guiding documents for public opinion;
Running a Facebook profile.
Public Relations and information on the Paks Nuclear Power Plant
The MVM Paks NPP Ltd. frequently informs the public of events that happen at the power plant via press releases. The press releases are also uploaded, together with other information materials, to the Hungarian and English web site of the NPP (http://www.atomeromu.hu and http://www.atomeromu.hu/en/Lapok/default.aspx).
MVM Paks NPP Ltd. has a Visitors’ Centre and a Nuclear Energetics Museum. The Visitors’ Centre was established in 1995 and welcomes over 25 000 visitors annually. The number of visitors in the Nuclear Energetics Museum, which has been running since 2012, exceeds 14 000 per year. Thanks to its programmes, the NPP remains a popular tourist destination.
The number of followers of the Facebook page of the Paks NPP increases year by year; the activity of the followers is exceptional both within and outside the industry.
The Paks NPP organizes an “open day” annually, which is very popular with participants.
Public Relations and information of the Paks II. project
The project company continued intensive communication regarding the actualities of the project in 2017. In addition, the project company reported regularly on its web site and social media platforms on the investment’s developments and events and on its web page in fulfilment of its disclosure obligations. The population next to the NPP site receives updated information about developments in the Paks II. project. Among the local and regional media content, there has always been information about the project company’s press conferences and the latest events regarding the investment.
To inform the public — beyond communication regarding the actualities of the project — the company’s informative advertisements and public relations articles were published in the national media, presenting the importance of nuclear energy and the Paks II. project. At the end of 2017, the project company published an article summarizing the developments in 2017 for Paks II. in the Hungarian county dailies.
In the Paks NPP’s Visitor’s Centre, an information corner about the new NPP units has been available since September 2016.
At the end of June 2017, the ‘Energy Inside Us!’ interactive information truck started a new country tour. One of the most important target groups of the rolling exhibition is young people, so during the summer the truck visited music festivals, and during the academic year, secondary school classes were visited continuously. Between September and December, the truck visited towns in the near vicinity of nuclear facilities and of waste management research programmes, then moved to the towns of northern Hungary with a population of more than 5 000. In the meantime, the truck visited XIV. Isotope Information Day in Püspökhatvan, the Kalocsa Paprika Festival and the Sausage Festival in Békéscsaba, having about 37 000 visitors in the second half of the year.
Public relations and stakeholder involvement of the Public Limited Company for Radioactive Waste Management
The primary purpose of the communication work of PURAM is to obtain, retain and reinforce the confidence and acceptance of the public to ensure that existing or planned facilities can safely serve, for many decades, the benefit of the country.
The company’s regional communication task is to keep contact with and inform the stakeholders who live near the facilities. Thanks to the successful cooperation between PURAM and the local associations of the municipalities, the company receives help in organizing public events, school competitions and publishing local newspapers.
The other part of the communication strategy focuses on national and international relationships. PURAM has a showroom in Paks, next to the spent fuel interim storage facility and a Visitors’ Centre in Bátaapáti, on the site of the NRWR, where the company also hosts civil and expert visitors.
PURAM has several brochures, publications and web site news stories, which also give widespread information about the company’s activities. Additionally, PURAM conducts public opinion polls every two years, which can help to generate useful feedback about the general attitudes of the Hungarian public.
3. NATIONAL LAWS AND REGULATIONS
3.1. Regulatory Framework
3.1.1. Regulatory authority(ies)
Before 1991, the HAEC managed most of the nuclear aspects related to international relations, preparation for legislation, internal relations, and nuclear regulatory and licensing activities. The scope of activities and responsibilities of the HAEC were redefined in a government decree, which came into force on 1 January 1991. The HAEA was established as a new, nationwide central state administered organization under the supervision of its president. The revised Act on Atomic Energy adopted at the end of 1996 (Act No. 116 of 1996 on Atomic Energy) and its Decrees on Implementation introduced further changes in the scope of authority and organizational structure of the national regulatory bodies related to nuclear safety.
According to the above mentioned changes in responsibilities, the licensing of nuclear facilities became the responsibility of the HAEA. In addition, regulatory control over certain construction, technical radiation protection and nuclear accident prevention issues was also transferred to the scope of HAEA’s authority.
Hungary’s accession to the European Union required further strengthening of the regulatory bodies’ independence. To this end, the Parliament amended the Act on Atomic Energy in 2003. Pursuant to this amendment, the operation of the HAEC was discontinued and one of the Government ministers appointed by the Prime Minister — in 2017 still the Minister of National Development — was given the task of supervising the HAEA. The role of director general of the HAEA became more significant: he or she is responsible for giving an annual report to the Government and the Parliament about the safety of the domestic application of nuclear energy. Furthermore, he or she shall participate, with the right of consultation, in sessions of the Government when any proposal related to the scope of activity of the HAEA is considered.
The administrative duty of the nuclear safety authority comprises two types of tasks. On the one hand, the authority shall perform the relevant regulatory tasks and issue standards and requirements, while on the other hand, these regulations and requirements must be enforced (this is realized during the implementation of the licensing and inspection/enforcement procedures).
The supervisory responsibility of the HAEA involves the following activities: it enforces compliance with the provisions of relevant statutory regulations, ensures that the requirements of nuclear safety regulations are observed and the conditions serving as a basis for regulatory licences are met, and in addition, it monitors the implementation of the measures imposed by the authority. The HAEA also carries out analysis and assessment activities that are related to its licensing and inspection responsibilities. In some cases, the official licensing and inspection activity also entails the initiation of law enforcement measures. Enforcement activities comprise all the measures to ensure that the licensees return to compliance with the regulations in the case of deviations, and also involves those that encourage participants to avoid repeated deviations.
There was an amendment to the Act on Atomic Energy in 2005 (owing to the new general rules of the administrative regulatory procedures) which introduced continuous regulatory supervision. The supervision may be exercised through on-line computer systems connected to the authority office network. The amendment defined clients in the cases of licensing and permission. Furthermore, the deadlines of the administrative regulatory procedures were also modified for the HAEA and its coauthorities. In case of imminent danger, accident or emergency situation in the nuclear facility, it allowed for deviations from the procedural rules as well.
Further modification of Act No. 116 of 1996 on Atomic Energy was adopted in 2011. In Act No. 109 of 2006 on the reorganization of the governmental structure, the HAEA is listed among the government offices. The scope of authority and duties of a government office are required to be regulated on the statutory level. Until 2011, the legal regulation of scope and duties was included in two different sources: the Act on Atomic Energy and Government Decree No. 114 of 2003 on the Scope of Duties, Authority and Competence to Impose Penalties of the Hungarian Atomic Energy Authority, and on the Activities of the Atomic Energy Coordination Council. The modification ended the two level regulation system and moved up all the related regulation to the statutory level. The modification also concerned the use of subsidies by municipal associations around nuclear facilities; now they may use the subsidies for information, monitoring, operation and to ensure municipal development.
According to the act, the licensee is obliged to present an expert’s report before an administrative procedure (non-procedural expert). The amendment allocates the task of evaluating independent nuclear experts to the Hungarian Chamber of Engineers. The Hungarian Chamber of Engineers, as an independent professional public body, can give substantive assistance to the regulatory body. The new modification of the act defines the design basis threat (DBT) and nuclear security and provides a clear basis for allocating responsibilities between the organizations involved. The act also identifies protection functions that are the responsibility of the state. The Government is empowered by the act to develop more detailed provisions of DBT and nuclear security in a government decree.
From 2013, the act declares that in all facility level licensing procedures, the HAEA shall arrange public hearings to ensure transparency and openness.
From 1 July 2014, the responsibilities of the HAEA underwent several changes. According to this amendment, the HAEA took over the task of regulatory oversight of the radioactive waste repositories. The act also introduced new procedures relating to licences for site assessment and evaluation, and licences to define characteristics and to determine the suitability of the site.
The HAEA took over the regulatory tasks for radiation protection. Act No. 7 of 2015 gave the scope of duties of radiation protection to the atomic energy oversight organization from 1 January 2016. The act separated the regulatory tasks among the authorities. The office of the chief medical officer will remain the competent authority for radiation health issues, while the Hungarian Atomic Energy Authority will be responsible for supervision of other radiation safety matters. The purpose of the amendment is to integrate the regulatory framework for nuclear safety, radiation protection and physical protection of the peaceful use of atomic energy under the same authority. This way a single level, country wide, customer centred regulatory regime will be realized, making licensing easier, reducing the number of licensing processes per licensee, and unifying data supply to be performed by the users of atomic energy.
The Project Act transferred the responsibilities to the HAEA for construction of general civil structures and buildings of nuclear facilities and radioactive waste repositories as of 1 January 2016. Lower level legislative amendments entered into force on 1 January 2016.
Council Directive 2014/87/Euratom of 8 July 2014, amending Directive 2009/71/Euratom, which established a community framework for the nuclear safety of nuclear installations, requires that Member States shall ensure the effective independence from undue influence of the competent regulatory authority in its regulatory decision making. For this purpose, Member States shall ensure that the national framework requires that the competent regulatory authority establish procedures for the prevention and resolution of any conflict of interest.
As stated above, the amendment of Act No. 116 of 1996 on Atomic Energy was drafted in 2017. On this basis, further detailed rules to regulate prohibitions regarding the incompatibility and joint employment and exclusions determined in Sections 84-87 of the Act on Public Servants and Sections 42-43 of Act No. 140 of 2004 on the General Rules of Administrative Proceedings and Services shall be specified by the leader of the atomic energy oversight organization, taking into account the peculiarities of the nuclear energy industry.
Further modification in 2017 of Act No. 116 of 1996 stipulated that a civil servant holding a university degree, employed at the atomic energy oversight organization, is authorized to perform individual inspection and intervention only after successfully passing the exam determined in the training system of the atomic energy oversight organization in front of an examination committee designated by the director general. This provision was prevously missing from the statutory level.
3.1.2. Licensing process
The basic principles of licensing procedures for NPPs, and the authorities taking part in licensing procedures, are regulated by Chapter 3 of the Act on Atomic Energy. To establish a new NPP or a new NPP unit, the preliminary consent in principle of Parliament is required for starting preparatory work, and to establish ownership of a NPP that is in operation or to transfer the right of operation, the consent in principle of the Government is required. In concordance with regulations in force, a licence shall be obtained from the authorities for all phases of operation (siting, construction, commissioning, operation, decommissioning) during the lifetime of an NPP. Moreover, a separate licence shall be obtained for all plant level or safety related equipment level modifications. Within the licensing procedures, technical aspects are enforced by legally delegated authorities. The authority shall take account of opinions of legally delegated special authorities. When the installation of a new NPP is being considered, the precondition for launching the licensing procedure is the existence of an environmental protection licence. During the licensing procedure, the licensee prepares a preliminary environmental impact study. The environmental protection authority then sends the preliminary impact study to the relevant authorities to seek the opinion of authorities of potentially affected areas who — in turn — expose it to public view. The environmental protection authority, if it does not reject the detailed environmental impact study that has been submitted, shall subsequently hold a public hearing. Based on the detailed environmental impact study and on any responses received, the environmental protection authority may issue an environmental protection licence for the construction and operation of the plant.
The safety related licensing of a nuclear installation takes place after the environmental licensing. The environmental protection authority plays the role of special authority in the course of licensing a nuclear installation. During the licensing of installations and equipment and of their modifications, the contributing procedure of the environmental protection special authority provides the possibility for civil organizations to act as clients. The decisions of the nuclear safety authority are made public. Those licences to be issued based on Act No. 110 of 2001 on Electric Energy are also required for establishing and operating a nuclear plant. Licences are valid for fixed periods; on request and provided that the necessary requirements are fulfilled, they may be extended. A licensee can appeal the decisions of the authority. It has the right to appeal in court.
Every ten years, a periodic safety review of the safety of the NPP is performed. Any decision on the further validity and conditions of the operating licence is made within the framework of the review. For certain facilities, beyond the regulatory licensing procedure, the Act on Atomic Energy requires higher approval as well.
According to the new general administrative regime, stemming from Act No. 150 of 2016 on General Administrative Regulations, it was necessary to adapt the Act on Atomic Energy to the aforesaid law. Several modifications took place in 2017 in order to harmonize the two pieces of legislation.
Based on the authorization of the Act on Atomic Energy, Government Decree No. 184 of 2016. (VII.13.), on the registration of civil engineering-technical experts, civil engineering designers, technical building inspectors and responsible construction supervisors, entered into force on 1 August 2016.
3.2. Main National Laws and Regulations in Nuclear Power
For a detailed list of legislative acts governing the peaceful use of nuclear energy, see the HAEA web site (http://www.oah.hu).