Hungary: Greenpeace insists its study on Paks is valid

, NGOs

Firing back at criticism from Hungaryʼs nuclear commissioner, Greenpeace yesterday defended its new study, which found that an upgrade at the Paks nuclear plant would be economically uncompetitive.

Attila Aszódi, government commissioner for Hungary’s Paks nuclear plant upgrade, this week issued a blog entry claiming that Greenpeace’s study contains “serious discrepancies and mistakes”. The study by Greenpeace issued on May 31 says that the upgrade is unviable without a state subsidy, and as such the project could distort competition on the market.

In the blog entry posted yesterday, Greenpeace states the claims of Aszódi about their study, and defends its points.

Aszódi questioned the methodology used by the researchers hired by Greenpeace, a group called Candole. Greenpeace responds that the approach their study uses is based on a similar BMWi study, which is also used by the Rothschild study that the government commissioned and uses to support its claim that the nuclear plant will be competitive. Greenpeace claims that the findings of the Rothschild study were already out of date when published in December, 2015.

Aszódi also wrote in his blog entry that Greenpeace’s suggestion that the investment would not pan out is faulty. Greenpeace responds that using the LCOE formula – a measure of a power source that attempts to compare different methods of electricity generation on a comparable basis – is not enough for making investment decisions, as the method simplifies expenditures. “We would be really interested to see whether the author [Aszódi] is able to mention an investment in the energy sector that was decided on purely using the LCOE formula”, Greenpeace says. “LCOE is not an evaluation system.”

Greenpeace says Aszódi’s assertion that their study “underestimates” the production parameters of the new blocks as “misleading and irrelevant reasoning”. According to Greenpeace: “manufacturers always plan based on the best-case scenario, while we need to consider data of experience as well.” The organization stresses that, in their model, the average capacity usage of the new blocks are at 90.7%, which is “still an optimistic assumption”.

At the end of the lengthy and thorough blog entry answering the concerns raised by Aszódi, Greenpeace says it “still recommends the Candole analysis” for those who are interested in the economic measurements of the new Paks blocks. “We state that the construction of the new blocks are unnecessary for Hungary, it would be a loss-making investment for Hungary, and undermines the spread of the renewable energy solutions in Hungary”.