Nuclear regulatory authority
The Hungarian Atomic Energy Authority (HAEA) (http://www.haea.gov.hu/) is a public administration body acting in the field of peaceful applications of atomic energy with a specified scope of tasks and authority, being independent of both organizational and financial points of view. Establishing the regulatory duties in connection with the safety of the peaceful application of nuclear energy, particularly with the safety of nuclear facilities under normal and accidental conditions and with nuclear emergencies is a basic task of the HAEA. In addition, the HAEA is required to harmonize and handle the related public information activities. Acting independently and supervised by a minister appointed by the Prime Minister, the HAEA is primarily concerned with ensuring nuclear safety in accordance with the law. From 2010, the Minister of National Development is responsible for the supervision of the HAEA`s activity. The Director-General of the HAEA is appointed and relieved by the Prime Minister. The HAEA resolutions can only be appealed and amended in court.
From 1st July, 2014 the competences of the HAEA has undergone several changes. According to this amendment, HAEA took over the task of regulatory oversight of the radioactive waste repositories. That Act also introduced new procedures of licences for site assessment and evaluation, and licenses to define characteristics and to determine the suitability of the site.
HAEA took over the regulatory tasks for radiation protection. The Act VII of 2015 (the Project Act) has given the scope of duties of radiation protection to the atomic energy oversight organization from January 1, 2016. The Project Act devided the regulatory tasks among the authorities. The Office of the Chief Medical Officer remained the competent authority for the radiation health issues, while the Hungarian Atomic Energy Authority is responsible for the supervision of other radiation safety matters. The purpose of the amendment is to integrate the regulatory framework for nuclear safety, radiation protection, and physical protection of the peaceful use of atomic energy under the same authority. This way a single level, country wide, customer centred regulatory regime is realized making licensing easier, reducing the number of licensing processes per licensee, and unifying data supply to be performed by the users of atomic energy.
The Project Act furthermore transfers the competences to HAEA for construction of general civil structures and buildings of nuclear facilities and radioactive waste repositories as of January 1st, 2016.
There are four VVER-440/213 (PWR) reactor units operated by the Paks NPP (500 MWe generated power by each unit).
In order to enhance its economic and operational efficiency and to improve its position in the market, the Paks NPP has begun an Economical Efficiency Enhancement Programme, the principal elements of which are enhancing human resources efficiency, power uprating, optimizing maintenance and initiating service life extension.
At the end of 2008 Paks NPP submitted a Lifetime-extension programme to HAEA to justify the establishment of the operating conditions and safe operation beyond the designed lifetime. HAEA evaluated the programme and ordered the licensee to implement the programme with certain conditions. The technical preparation activities covered the determination of the ageing effects and ageing processes requiring treatment, the status of the systems, structures and components, the evaluation of the existing aging management programmes, and if necessary, the amendment or development of new programmes. HAEA regularly reviews and evaluates the progress reports of the Lifetime-extension programme. In December 2011 in compliance with the legal requirements, Paks NPP submitted the beyond designed lifetime licence application of Unit 1, one year before the expiration of its licensed operating time. The HAEA evaluated the licence application and the additional information and made a decision on the extension by the end of 2012. On the basis of the review of the approximately 30,000 page long licence application, the HAEA stated, that nuclear safety requirements are fulfilled and the safe operation is ensured. The HAEA granted the operational licence of Unit 1 and 2 for the next 20 years, subjected to the periodic safety assessment of the unit. In November 2015 Paks NPP submitted the beyond designed lifetime license application of Unit 3., and obtained the license in December, 2016.In November 2016 the NPP submitted its request about the authorisation of the lifetime-extension of Unit 4.
Under Hungary's Act on Atomic Energy, the government needs to obtain a decision-in-principle from the Parliament in order to start any preparatory activity that could lead to the construction of a new nuclear power plant. On 30 March 2009, the Parliament gave a decision-in-principle with more than 90% of the votes in support of it.
After this, the preparation for the construction of the new units was started. The activities included preparations for obtaining the environmental license and the site licence. A survey was also initiated to determine the possible suppliers for the construction of the new units and the demand for the necessary manpower.
In 2012, the Board of the MVM Ltd. took a decision to establish a company to continue the tasks. The company is called MVM Paks II. Nuclear Power Plant Development Ltd. (Paks II. Ltd.). The tasks of the Paks II. Ltd. include the examination of all essential aspects of the construction in order to prepare the Project for the further decision-making procedures on the construction of the new units at the Paks site.
Site investigation and evaluation
As said before, the units will be built on the site of the Paks nuclear power plant currently in operation. Despite of the in-depth knowledge of the site (which is the most explored and best-known geological area of Hungary), the Paks II. Ltd. decided to conduct a thorough site investigation and evaluation program to double-check whether the most up-to-date geological exploratory methods confirm the suitability of the site to host two new units and in order to check the site-specific data necessary for the design of the plant. In 2014, the Paks II. Ltd. obtained the site investigation and evaluation license from HAEA, which enabled the execution of the site investigation programme. In the autumn of 2014, extensive 3D seismic exploration was carried out on a territory of about 300km2 around the site. In spring 2016, several deep drilling activities were performed or were in progress and several shallow boreholes were drilled outside the site for the identification of the geology and the tectonics of the area. Further, several other geological mapping, other geophysical, geotechnical and hydrogeological research was accomplished in 2016 on the site itself and/or its surrounding.
The site license application was submitted by the Paks II. Ltd. on 27 October 2016 to the Hungarian Atomic Energy Authority. Following this the Paks II. Ltd. held public fora in the subject in Paks, Szekszárd and Kalocsa, and every household of the 41 settlements near the site received an 8 pages informative publication. To inform the public, an informative, summarized article was published in regional newspapers of each county, and the 8 pages publication was available as an appendix in the national dailies as well. The public hearing – as part of the site licensing process – was held on 13 December 2016 in Paks, organized by the HAEA. The HAEA issued the site license on 30 March 2017.
In 2012, the preliminary consultation document (PCD) was sent to 30 European countries. Based on this, 11 countries have registered their intention to participate in the environmental licensing procedure (according to the Espoo Convention) of the two new units. In addition, more than 10 Hungarian non-governmental green organisations have been registered in order to participate in the procedure as a party. The environmental licensing procedure was initiated at the end of 2014 with the submission of the more than 2000 pages long environmental impact assessment study (available also in English here: http://www.paks2.hu/hu/Kozerdeku/KozerdekuDokumentumok/KornyezetvedelmiEngedelyezes/KornyezetiHatastanulmany/Lapok/default.aspx).
In the spring of 2015, an information forum series was held in 41 settlements around the Paks site with the objective to draw the attention of the public to the environmental licensing procedure and to request them to submit their comments on the environmental impact assessment of the new nuclear units. On 7th May, a public hearing was held in Paks with roughly 600 participants. To meet the request of the participating countries, 9 international hearings in 7 interested countries (Austria, Croatia, Germany, Romania, Serbia, Slovenia, Ukraine) were successfully concluded in September-November 2015. With this, the bulk of the international environmental licensing procedure has been completed until the end of 2015.
The Paks II. Ltd. received the first instance environmental license issued by the Authority on 29th September 2016. Upon appeal, the competent authority, Pest County Government Office issued the second instance procedure’s result on 18 April 2017, the resolution which approved the Paks II. project’s environmental license. With this resolution Paks II.’s environmental license became legally binding.
Remaining ongoing pre-construction activities
In 2017 and 2018 the main task will be to prepare the construction licence application and the related documentation.
Map of Hungary indicating the location of Paks NPP:
Budapest is the location of the Budapest Research Reactor (10 MWth VVER-SM type) of the Centre for Energy Research and the Nuclear Training Reactor (100 kWth pool type) of the Institute of Nuclear Techniques of the Budapest University of Technology and Economics.
Radioactive waste and spent fuel management
Council Directive 2011/70/EURATOM establishing a Community framework for the responsible and safe management of spent fuel and radioactive waste requires Member States of the European Union to establish and maintain national policies on spent fuel and radioactive waste management. The Parliament adopted the National Policy in a resolution in 2015.
The National Policy summarizes the principles applicable to the management of spent nuclear fuel and radioactive waste. Most of these principles already existed in the Hungarian legal system, mainly in the Act on Atomic Energy and its implementing decrees, before the adoption of the National Policy, but have also been recast according to the requirements of the Directive in a systematic way.
The National Policy formulates the policies for the back-end of the fuel cycle, the management of radioactive waste and the decommissioning of nuclear facilities as the boundary conditions of the National Programme, moreover, the requirements and methods for the engagement of the citizens in decision-making, i.e. the policy of ensuring publicity.
The National Policy on radioactive waste management is based on the following three pillars. Regarding the back-end of the fuel cycle a final decision has not yet been made, rather the principle of 'do and see' is being applied, which allows for the possibility of following domestic and international developments, technological advancements to be integrated into the back-end policy as necessary. In addition, as a reference scenario an open fuel cycle has been developed that includes the direct, domestic disposal of spent fuel originating from nuclear power plants. According to the second pillar of the radioactive waste management, low and intermediate level radioactive waste generated in Hungary is to be disposed in radioactive waste disposal facilities in Hungary. This policy is in the implementation phase, as facilities for this purpose already exist. Emerging needs must be met by further development, safety advancements and continuous expansion of these facilities. Implementation of the decommissioning policy of nuclear facilities will become a current issue in the future. The decommissioning plan must include the decommissioning schedule, if necessary including the period of protected preservation, and in line with the long term utilization concept of the site the final state of decommissioning. Regular review and, if necessary, updating the decommissioning plan is also a fundamental requirement for its content to follow changes in safety requirements and technological developments.
Pursuant to the provisions of Council Directive 2011/70/EURATOM transposed into the Act on Atomic Energy [I.6] in 2013, the Government shall adopt and regularly update the National Programme. In accordance with the requirements of the Council Directive, the National Programme was adopted by the Government in August 2016 in the form of a resolution.
The National Programme falls within the scope of Directive 2001/42/EC of the European Parliament and of the Council on the assessment of the effects of certain plans and programmes on the environment as well as the government decree on the promulgation of the Protocol on Strategic Environmental Assessment, adopted in Kiev, on 21 May 2003 to the Convention on Environmental Impact Assessment in a Transboundary Context adopted in Espoo, on 26 February, 1991. Consequently, in line with the transposed legislation, a strategic environmental assessment was carried out in 2015-2016.
In accordance with international and EU regulations, the impact assessment of possible transboundary environmental and health impacts was also carried out (during the first half of 2016) in accordance with the provisions of government decrees and Council Directive 2011/70/EURATOM. By doing so, Hungary ensured the right of Austria, Slovakia, Ukraine, Romania, Serbia, Croatia and Slovenia to participate, as potentially affected parties, in the strategic environmental assessment procedure exploring the transboundary environmental impacts of the National Programme. In accordance with the relevant legal provisions, Hungary has taken into account the comments received in the programme’s decision making process.
Dynamism of the National Policy and the National Programme is ensured by the fact that Hungary has stipulated in the Act on Atomic Energy the revision of the National Policy and National Programme every five years. Thus, Hungary can integrate the best available technical solutions and research results into the National Policy, and can implement them in practice in the National Programme.
The Public Limited Company for Radioactive Waste Management (PURAM) is responsible for the operation of the existing radioactive waste and spent fuel management facilities and the preparation for the final disposal of high level waste and the decommissioning of nuclear facilities. A Central Nuclear Financial Fund was established by the Act on Atomic Energy to finance the tasks of radioactive waste and spent fuel management. The Fund is constituted by the payments of those institutes where the radioactive waste is generated. The Minister supervising the Hungarian Atomic Energy Authority, at present the Minister for national development disposes over the Fund, and is responsible for its management.
The Interim Spent Fuel Storage Facility is situated at Paks, next to the plant site of the Paks Nuclear Power Plant connected to its south part.
The National Radioactive Waste Repository is in operation at Bátaapáti (for low- and intermediate-level radioactive waste); in the underground part four disposal chambers have been excavated, two of them are in operation.
The Radioactive Waste Treatment and Disposal Facility (for institutional radioactive waste) is in operation at Püspökszilágy.
Main national laws and regulations
Main national laws and decrees
- Act CXVI of 1996 on Atomic Energy
- Government Decree 227/1997. (XII. 10.) on the type, conditions and sum of the liability insurance or other liability financial coverage concerning atomic damage
- Law-decree 9 of 1972 on the promulgation of the agreement concluded between the Hungarian People’s Republic and the International Atomic Energy Agency for the application of safeguards in connection with the Treaty on the Non-Proliferation of Nuclear Weapons, signed in Vienna on the 6 March in 1972
- Act XC of 1999 on the confirmation and promulgation of the Additional Protocol signed in Vienna on the 26th of November in 1998 in connection with the agreement for the application of the safeguards concerning the treaty on non-proliferation of nuclear weapons, concluded between the Republic of Hungary and the International Atomic Energy Agency and signed in Vienna on the 6 March in 1972
- Decree of the Minister of transport, telecommunication and energy 11/2010. (III.4.) KHEM on the rules of accountancy for and control of radioactive materials, and on the corresponding data provisions
- Government Decree 144/2011. (VII. 27.) on the regulation of international transfer of nuclear and nuclear dual use items
- Law-decree 8 of 1987 on the promulgation of the convention on physical protection of nuclear materials
Regulations related to the planned new nuclear units at Paks
- Act II of 2014 on the promulgation of the agreement about the cooperation on the field of peaceful utilization of nuclear energy between the Hungarian Government and the Government of the Russian Federation (IGA)
- Act XXIV of 2014 on the promulgation of the agreement about the state loan provided to the Hungarian Government in order to finance the construction of the nuclear power plant in Hungary between the Hungarian Government and the Government of the Russian Federation (Financial IGA)
- Act VII of 2015 on the project on the sustainment of Paks NPP and on the modification of related regulations
Main Regulations in the field of Nuclear Power
- Government Decree 112/2011. (VII. 4.) on the scope of activities of the Hungarian Atomic Energy Authority in connection with its international obligations including the European Union, its authority and penalizing rights, the assignments of its co-authorities and on the Scientific Committee assisting the HAEA's activity
- Governmental Decree 118/2011 (VII.11.) on the nuclear safety requirements for nuclear facilities and the procedures of the Hungarian Atomic Energy Authority in nuclear safety regulatory matters
- Annex No. 1: Nuclear Safety Code Volume 1 - Authority procedures applied to nuclear facilities
- Annex No. 2: Nuclear Safety Code Volume 2 - Management systems of nuclear facilities
- Annex No. 3: Nuclear Safety Code Volume 3 - General requirements for the design of nuclear power plants
- Annex No. 3a: Nuclear Safety Code Volume 3a - Design reguirements for nuclear power plants
- Annex No. 4: Nuclear Safety Code Volume 4 - Operational safety requirements of nuclear power plants
- Annex No. 5: Nuclear Safety Code Volume 5 - Design and operation of research reactors
- Annex No. 6: Nuclear Safety Code Volume 6 - Design and operation of spent fuel storage facilities
- Annex No. 7: Nuclear Safety Code Volume 7 - Site assessment of nuclear facilities
- Annex No. 8: Nuclear Safety Code Volume 8 - Decommissioning of nuclear facilities
- Annex No. 9: Nuclear Safety Code Volume 9 - Requirements for the construction of new nuclear facilities
- Annex No. 10: Definitions of nuclear safety codes
- Decree of the Minister of Health 16/2000. (VI. 8.) on the execution of certain provisions of the Act CXVI of 1996 on Atomic Energy associated with radiation protection
- Government. decree 215/2013. (VI. 21.) on the designation, activity and funding of the organization performing certain tasks in relation with radioactive wastes and spent fuel
- Government Decree 190/2011. (IX. 19.) on physical protection requirements for various applications of atomic energy and the corresponding system of licensing, reporting and inspection
- Act LXXXI of 2015 on the promulgation and inland application of Appendixes “A” and “B” of the European Agreement about the International Public Road Transportation of Dangerous Goods
- Decree of the Minister of National Development 51/2013 (IX.6.) on the transportation, carriage and packaging of spent nuclear fuel
- Decree of the Minister of Transportation, Telecommunication and Water 14/1997. (IX. 3.) on the transportation, shipment and packaging of radioactive materials
- Govt. Decree 155/2014. (VI. 30.) Korm. on the safety requirements for facilities ensuring interim storage or final disposal of radioactive wastes and the corresponding authority activities
- Govt. decree 487/2015. (XII. 30.) Korm. on the protection against ionizing radiation and the corresponding licensing, reporting (notification) and inspection system
- Govt. decree 489/2015. (XII. 30.) Korm. on monitoring radiation conditions relevant for public exposure of natural and artificial origin and on the scope of quantities obligatory to be measured
- Ministerial decree 5/2015. (II.27.) BM of the Minister of the Interior on specific fire safety requirements associated with the application of atomic energy and on the method of their enforcement in the practice of authorities
The whole legal framework is available on HAEA’s website:
Last updated on 1 December 2017