With the most serious energy crisis ever to envelop Europe, it has become even more clear that nuclear energy is essential for the security of supply and the gradual transition to greener, renewable energy, Hungary’s Foreign Affairs and Trade Minister Péter Szijjártó said in Prague on Monday.
In a statement at the 7th Nuclear Industry Congress in the Czech capital, Szijjártó called on the European Commission to ensure that nuclear energy would not be subject to any restrictions, insisting the energy source is paramount to energy security in the wake of the conflict in Ukraine and subsequent energy sanctions.
“Slowing down and obstructing nuclear investments harms the sovereignty of European countries. One of the most important components of sovereignty is the security of energy supply,” Szijjártó said.
“In Hungary, from this point of view, nuclear energy and investment in Paks are key, so those institutions, banks, or authorities that slow down or obstruct the construction of new units of the Paks nuclear power plant would violate Hungary’s sovereignty and energy supply,” he added..
The Hungarian minister accused Europe of becoming too comfortable as a net importer of energy; he also claimed there had been too much focus on long-term supply contracts and the political trend of the green transition instead of on the pragmatic implementation of a self-sustainable energy policy.
Szijjártó argued the green transition had become a victim of political campaigning and that an anti-nuclear attitude had been pushed by some environmental activists as a result of the Fukushima nuclear disaster in Japan in 2011.
He highlighted that those countries that opt to expand their nuclear energy output now, at a time when market conditions in Europe have practically ceased, will be doing well for themselves in the years ahead. Szijjártó revealed this is why Hungary aims to increase the capacity of its Paks power plant as soon as possible.
“Nuclear energy is a safe, cheap, and sustainable way of energy production,” he told the congress.
“It is not possible to implement the European Green Agreement without nuclear energy. (…) The environment has made it clearer than ever before that Europe clearly needs nuclear energy,” he added.