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Hungary says Russia nuclear deal ‘right fit’

Russia will build the plant and loan Hungary 80 percent of the cost, to be paid back over 21 years.

The Hungarian government’s commissioner Attila Aszodi.  Picture: AFP

BUDAPEST - A Hungarian government official says that nation's €12 billion nuclear expansion deal with Russia is the right fit for a country in need of a cheap source of base load energy.

Attila Aszodi, the man leading the project, says there is a long term price advantage to investing in nuclear.

Russia will build the plant and loan Hungary 80 percent of the construction cost, to be paid back over 21 years.

Russian atomic energy company Rosatom has said it's open to help South Africa finance its nuclear ambitions, if it wins the contract.

Hungary and South Africa are both looking to build new nuclear reactors in line with their energy mix policies.

Aszodi says his country signed a deal with Russia without putting the contract out to tender.

He says the loan conditions are favourable.

"We have all conditions, which we assure that the power plan will be economical and will be able to pay back all the investment and this is the cheapest source we can reach and use at this moment."

The European Commission is probing whether the Hungary-Russia deal was in line with its procurement regulations.

Construction of the two new 1,200 megawatt reactors is expected to begin in 2018.

In South Africa, opposition politicians are concerned the government's 9600 megawatt nuclear build programme is not affordable and will plunge the country deeper into debt.

It's unclear when Energy Minister Tina Joemat-Pettersson will open the tender process.