* Hungary blames delay on EU regulatory hurdles
* Rosatom reactors to be delayed a year to 2026-27
* Rosatom's Finland project also delayed
(Adds Rosatom confirmation of delay)
By Marton Dunai
BUDAPEST, Oct 6 (Reuters) - Russian company Rosatom's 12.5
billion euro ($14.7 billion) project to build two nuclear
reactors in Hungary has been delayed by at least a year,
Hungarian authorities said.
Hungarian minister Janos Suli told a conference on Thursday
that the Paks nuclear project would be delayed by 22 months
because of European Union regulatory hurdles but the government
was working to shorten the delay.
A government official on Friday confirmed his comments,
which were reported on state news agency MTI.
Suli said the two Russian VVER 1200 reactors could come
online in 2026 and 2027 respectively, a year later than outlined
in a 2015 government presentation.
He also said that Rosatom still plans to start work on the
site's auxiliary buildings in early 2018 and that, once permits
are secured, construction of the reactors could start in 2020.
Suli said the application for the construction permit -
originally scheduled for end-2017 - will be submitted mid-2018
and that approval could take up to 15 months.
Rosatom confirmed the delay but said it was not at fault.
"An examination process by the European Commission ... led
to a forced revision of the schedule," Rosatom said in an
emailed statement, adding that first work on the site would
start as soon as in January 2018.
Greenpeace anti-nuclear activist Andras Perger said that EU
regulatory controls should have been anticipated and were not
responsible for Rosatom's delay in submitting the request for a
"If the Russians are not responsible for the delay then they
will not pay any penalties," Perger said.
He added that Rosatom has so many projects at home and
abroad that it struggles to manage them all.
An industry executive said that as Rosatom is speeding up a
project to build Turkey's first nuclear plant, it may let the
timing of others slide.
Rosatom said last month that it aims to start work on its
Turkish Akkuyu project by the end of March.
Industry sources say that Turkish President Tayyip Erdogan
is eager for construction to start on the plant, whereas in
Hungary existing plants can operate for many more years.
The Paks site already has four Russian-built reactors that
account for about a third of Hungary's power consumption and
will be retired between 2023 and 2037.
Finnish-Russian group Fennovoima said last month that the
licence to build a Rosatom reactor in Hanhikivi, Finland was
likely to take a year longer than expected as design work by
supplier and co-owner Rosatom had been slower than expected.
The financial difficulties of rivals Westinghouse
and Areva have created opportunities for Rosatom, but
China's CGN and South Korea's Kepco are also
competing for business.
($1 = 0.8529 euros)
(Reporting by Marton Dunai in Budapest and Geert De Clercq in
Paris; Editing by David Goodman and Susan Fenton)
First Published: 2017-10-06 15:40:06
Updated 2017-10-06 20:29:10
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