According to press reports in Hungary, János Süli told parliament’s economic committee that significant progress had been made in the last year.
In July, Paks II, the company leading the project, submitted a licence application for construction of the two plants to the Hungarian Atomic Energy Authority (HAEA). In October it submitted its application for an implementation licence for the new units. That licence, if granted, will show that the two reactors planned for the site will meet requirements set out in the Hungarian Electricity Act.
Mr Süli said once the construction licence is issued preparation for the laying of the base for the first unit will take two years.
An agreement signed in 2014 will see Russia supply two VVER-1200 pressurised water reactors for Paks 2 and a loan of up to €10bn to finance 80% of the €12bn project.
The Paks 2 project already has more than 450 licences, including an environmental licence issued in 2016 and a site licence issued in 2017.
Initial construction work of non-nuclear facilities has begun at the site, Paks II Ltd told NucNet. This work includes a three-story contractor’s office, a four-story owner’s office and a staff kitchen and restaurant.
Licences for four other buildings have been issued by the HAEA, and six other structures – steel and concrete plant facilities – are going through the licensing process.
The Paks nuclear station, the country’s only commercial nuclear facility, already has four Russia-supplied VVER units with a total gross capacity of 2,000 MW in commercial operation. The government has said that without the two new units it will not be able to reach its climate and energy security goals.