January 26, 2011 / 10:19 AM / 9 years ago

UPDATE 1-Hungary to launch nuclear power tender in 2012

* Hungary to issue nuclear power tender in 2012

* Time is secondary to thorough preparation - minister

(Adds background)

BUDAPEST, Jan 26 (Reuters) - Hungary will issue a tender in early 2012 to expand its Paks nuclear power plant, evaluate bids in the first half of 2013 and target completion as late as 2030, Development Minister Tamas Fellegi said on Tuesday.

Fellegi, in a written reply to an MP’s question posted on the Parliament web site, said that the timing of completion of the project must be revised to 2020-2030 from the current 2020-2025.

“A nuclear power plant project needs very thorough preparation,” Fellegi wrote. “One cannot, one must not spare time at the expense of (thoroughness).”

Hungary’s parliament, including the current governing Fidesz party and the main opposition Socialists, voted in 2008 to evaluate options to expand the country’s sole nuclear plant.

The Paks nuclear power plant is wholly owned by state electricity wholesaler MVM. It uses four Russian-made VVER-type reactors with a total capacity of about 2000 megawatts, which generate about 40 percent of the country’s electricity consumption.

The existing reactors, which were brought on line in the 1980s, are undergoing life span extensions and are expected to remain in service until the 2030’s.

Reporting by Marton Dunai; Editing by Jane Baird

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