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Hungary Teams Up with Belarus for New Nuclear Reactor

As Cold War-style rhetoric continues to intensify in the wake of Sweden and Finland’s accession to NATO, Hungary’s pro-Russian president Viktor Orban is now courting Belarus to expand ties and build Hungary’s second nuclear power plant.

On Wednesday, despite European Union sanctions on Russian ally Belarus, Hungarian Foreign Minister Péter Szijjártó visited MInsk, where he publicly stated, "our position is clear: the fewer sanctions, the more cooperation!”

The two countries signed a deal in which Belarus will assist Hungary in the construction of its second new PAK reactor. The first reactor, according to Reuters, being built by Russian state-run nuclear company Rosatom, has been in the construction process since 2014. Rosatom will also build the second reactor, with cooperation from Belarus.

Hungary’s first commercial nuclear power reactor began operations in the early 1980s, and it now has four nuclear reactors in operation, generating approximately half of its domestic electricity needs, according to data from the World Nuclear Association. Two new reactors currently being built by Russian Rosatom received broad parliamentary support.

"Of great importance is the agreement signed here today on nuclear energy cooperation, which allows us to use the experiences Belarus gained here while constructing reactors with a similar technology," Szijjarto stated, adding that Budapest would be boosting cooperation with Belarus in areas that are not targeted by sanctions, which the Hungarian foreign minister suggested were not working.

Belarus has been under EU sanctions for rigged elections, oppression of the opposition and allowing Russian troops to use the country as a staging ground for attacks on Ukraine.

Orban, who has been pushing back against EU sanctions since Russia’s invasion of Ukraine in the Spring of 2022, will now have to face municipal elections at home and June 9 European Parliamentary elections, where his party is now faced with a newly emerging opposition challenge.

By Josh Owens for Oilprice.com

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