PLEX in Hungary

status of this text: May 2013


In Hungary currently four nuclear reactors are operating at the NPP Paks, owned by state-owned Paks NPP Ltd., member of MVM holding. The four units were connected to the grid in 1982, 1984, 1986, 1987, respectively.

The original design lifetime was 30 years.

Paks AG intends to prolongue the lifetime of the four units for 20 years to a total lifetime of 50 years.

In this context an Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA) has been carried out.
Hungary was the first case where an environmental impact assessment (EIA) was required for a plant lifetime extension. In this context, in 2004, the Preliminary Environmental Study and in March 2006 the Environmental Impact Study was published. In Nov. 2006 Hungary issued the environmental license for Paks lifetime extension.

The first unit of Paks NPP got its operating licence for the next 20 years (until 31. December 2032) in December 2012.

The PLEX program of the three remaining reactors is ongoing.

PLEX procedure

In Hungary, there are several steps of the licensing of PLEX. The first of the two main licenses is the environmental license. The environmental impact assessment process was implemented in 2006, and as a result, permission was given for PLEX for the entire power plant. The final stage of the entire licensing process is the safety licensing. The Hungarian Atomic Energy Authority is in charge to issue the permission for operating the reactors beyond the design lifetime. Four years before applying for the license, the power plant had to create a program, describing how it planned to prepare the units for the lifetime extension. The program was evaluated, and the implementation of the program was controlled by the authority.

The law prescribes that it should be applied for the license of the four units separately. The licensing process of the first unit started by the end of 2011, the decision of the authority was issued on 18th December 2012. The license gave permission for the first unit to be operated until 31st December 2032, and beyond some limitation prescriptions, it ordered several analyses, as a condition of the license, to be carried out. The PLEX program of the three remaining reactors is ongoing. Safety licensing of these units will happen in 2014, 2016 and 2017.

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