Austria filed a legal complaint with the European Court of Justice on Thursday against the European Union’s approval for the expansion of the Paks Nuclear Power Plant in Hungary, which already currently meets 40% of the country’s electricity needs.
The expansion, currently known simply as Paks 2, recently garnered the support of Russian President Vladimir Putin, who in early 2017 announced that his country was “ready to finance 100%” of the expansion project. This wasn’t necessarily a huge surprise at the time, considering that prior to Putin’s announcement, Russia was already set to loan $11 billion, 80% of the project cost, and Russia’s state-owned nuclear agency Rosatom is set to carry out the expansion.
Paks 2 will add two more nuclear units to the project, each with a capacity of 1.2 GW (gigawatts).
Austria, which has a border with Hungary, has a long history of anti-nuclear stances, and earlier this year the country announced its plans to sue the European Commission over its approval for the expansion of the 2 GW Paks Nuclear Power Plant, located outside the Hungarian capital of Budapest. Three years ago, Austria launched a legal challenge against the controversial Hinkey Point C nuclear project in England.
Announced earlier this week, Austria’s Minister of Sustainability Elisabeth Köstinger stated that her country had filed a lawsuit with the Court of the European Union.
“Austria has always been a country that has vehemently opposed nuclear power,” said Köstinger in a statement (translated with Google). “For our nature, for our environment and our unique landscape, we have to take on this fight against David Goliath. Nuclear power must not have a place in Europe. We will not deviate an inch from this line!”
Austria considers its challenge an important step against the growth of nuclear energy in Europe and in support of more sustainable sources of energy generation.