Hungary will veto EU sanctions on Russian on nuclear energy - PM Orban

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[January 27, 2023]   BUDAPEST (Reuters) - Hungary will veto any European Union sanctions against Russia affecting nuclear energy, Prime Minister Viktor Orban told state radio on Friday.

Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor Orban attends a media briefing in Budapest, Hungary, December 21, 2022. REUTERS/Marton Monus

Ukraine has called on the 27-nation EU to include Russian state nuclear energy company Rosatom in sanctions but Hungary, which has a Russian-built nuclear plant it plans to expand with Rosatom, has blocked that.

Orban reiterated in an interview that sanctions on nuclear energy "must obviously be vetoed".

"We will not allow the plan to include nuclear energy into the sanctions be implemented," the Hungarian premier said. "This is out of the question."

EU-member Hungary has repeatedly criticised EU sanctions on Russia over its invasion of neighbouring Ukraine, saying they failed to weaken Russia meaningfully, while they risk destroying the European economy.

The West has not imposed sanctions on Rosatom since Russia invaded Ukraine.

Hungary's Paks nuclear power plant has four small Russian-built VVER 440 reactors with a combined capacity of about 2,000 megawatts, which started operating between 1982 and 1987.

It generates about half its power and the plant gets its nuclear fuel from Russia.

Under a deal signed in 2014 with Russia, Hungary aims to expand the Paks plant with two Russian-made VVER reactors with a capacity of 1.2 gigawatts each.

(Reporting by Krisztina Than; Editing by Jacqueline Wong)

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