For more than 30 year Paks Nuclear Power Plant has been generating safe, cheap and environmentally friendly electricity satisfying a significant part of the Hungarian energy demand. Today, this share accounts for more than 50%.
The predecessor of MVM Paks NPP Ltd. (PA Zrt.) was the Paks Nuclear Power Plant Company (PAV), founded on 1 January 1976. With the establishment of this company a new branch of national industry was born, namely the use of nuclear energy to produce electricity. As a result of a service life extension programme, Unit 1 of the nuclear power plant will operate for another 20 years, continuing to ensure favourable conditions for electricity generation. Upon obtaining a licence for extended service life, Unit 2 of Paks NPP will be in operation until 2034, Unit 3 until 2036 and Unit 4 until 2037.
According to the Hungarian–Russian Intergovernmental Agreement signed in mid January 2014, two new power units with the capacity of 1200 MW each can be constructed on the site of Paks Nuclear Power Plant and are expected to start operation in the late 2020s.
The history of nuclear-based electricity provision to retail consumers in Hungary began in 1982 when Unit 1 was connected to the national grid. However, the history of the nuclear power plant itself dates back to the 1960s.
A resolution adopted in 1966 declared that a nuclear power plant would be constructed in Hungary. Following that, on 16 February 1976 the site of Paks was chosen for the plant construction at the Electricity Sector meeting of the Ministry of Heavy Industry (NIM). In September 1972 the NPP Construction Secretariat was founded and Benjámin Szabó was appointed as the ministerial commissioner of the NPP.
Construction itself commenced in 1974 and in the same year the construction of Units 1 and 2 was started. Paks Nuclear Power Plant Company started operating.
As an effect of implementing the investment project, the population of Paks grew from 12,000 to 21,000 within a few years. During the peak construction period more than 10,000 people were involved in the work on the nuclear power plant’s site. Thus having experienced significant changes, on 1 January 1979 Paks was granted city status.
In 1980 the reactor pressure vessel of Unit 1 was lifted to its final place and the first delivery of nuclear fuel was received. After a number of successful operations connected with the installation of process systems belonging to Unit 1, electricity generation commenced on 28 December 1982.
Connection of units to the grid
Unit 1: 28 December 1982
Unit 2: 6 September 1984
Unit 3: 28 September 1986
Unit 4: 16 August 1987
Points of interest
A draft intergovernmental agreement on the 2 x 1000 MW expansion of Paks Nuclear Power Plant was prepared in December 1979. However, after completion of a part of the preparatory activities, the programme was brought to a halt in 1989.
Those who are deeply interested in the history of the nuclear power plant will find more detailed information in the following referenced sources:
József Hazafi – Károly Gottwald: Power Plant on the Banks of the Danube (PAV, 1983)
József Hazafi: Young Team (Budapest, 1984)
Balázs Kováts: Nuclear Lesson (PAV, 1988)
Ferenc Vicsek: The Heat of Decay (Budapest, 1988)
Paks Nuclear Plant: Ten Years (Vienna, 1992)
Dr. Géza Bencze (et al): Twenty Years (Paks, 1995)
Benjámin Szabó: Pictures of a Nuclear Era (Új Palatinus Könyvesház Kft., 2004)
Miklós Beregnyei (et al): Almanacs, from 1992 until the present.