The power station with the soft nose

In our culture, when our child is not telling us the truth, we don’t tell him, that my son: you are lying to me or that you are a liar, we say that your nose is soft, and as an evidence of this, we softy push the child’s nose.

In the year 2002 and 2003, the Hungarian public had to learn the evidence, that nuclear safety is not only an asset that we just learn about in books, but it is an evidence which we must face in our every day life. That is something; that we must be aware of, and something that we are afraid of.

In those years, two out of the four reactors had to be closed down, and the nuclear power station had to face not only a long lasting technical problem, but we had to see, that those well educated middle age gentleman, are hiding the truth away from us, they are making secret relevant information, and they are even lying to us.


That is why I tried to publish an article about our green viewpoint on the use of nuclear energy. I tried to publish, the article, in the biggest selling liberal daily: Népszabadság, - and I tell you: it was not easy at all.

The title of the article was: THE POWERSTATION WITH THE SOFT NOSE

But why can one say, that the nose of the power station is soft? Because it was not telling us the truth, and it was caught on doing that.

The Paks nuclear power station spends 4,2 billion Hungarian Forits, equals to around 18 million € every year to make a good image about his nuclear safety.  If they need it they can publish whole page articles; “to inform the public”.

The Paks Nuclear power station is in state property, so they use our public tax, in order to inform or misinform us. The nuclear opposition does not receives state funds to express their opinion, same as, we have no access to that 18 million €-s, and it also must be mentioned, that THE PRESS, with capital letters, is not very happy to publish our opinion. May be because, than the big and informative, paid articles, and the well paid whole page advertisement will not be published by the paks Nuclear power Station.

We are the ones which are not sponsoring others, and we are the ones with difficulties in publishing our opinion.

The power station always disseminates a type of information that no one knows the nuclear question better then them, and – as they say - this is a technical issue, and without a certain knowledge and education on the nuclear topic, no one else should involve into the nuclear discussion.

According to our opinion, all topics have a professional, social, sociological, political etc. side, and the press must deal with all of them. You don’t has to be a road or traffic engineer in order to see, what is bad with the roads, and we don’t have to have a degree in reactor physics in order to comment nuclear accidents.

There should be public discussions on all these topics, and according to our opinion, the use of nuclear energy, and the judgment of the Paks Nuclear Power Station is typically an issue that must go public.

Now as the personal element , - as we are all humans with our talents and our mistakes – came to public, we had to see, that the power plant which was originally planned to work with Soviet heating elements, and by the political changes was changed to French heating elements, which during a simple cleaning process stopped functioning, and the nuclear power station had to close first one later two reactors because of human mistakes. This was the moment, when again, we all had to reanalyze our basic attitude towards nuclear energy.

So there is the question, why we don’t have a real discussion in Hungary about our relation with nuclear technology. Why our press is not informing our public on what happening in the EU.

In 1989 there was more than 25 000 MW construction in Europe, while ten years later there was no such construction at all. Now, there are constructions only I Finland and France. (???)

Does the Hungarian reader is aware of the fact, that in Italy the nuclear power station has been closed?

-  That in Austria, in Greece and in Portugal, the nuclear reactors had been constructed, but they had been never putted into operation?

-  That in Ireland, in Luxemburg, and in Denmark, nuclear power stations newer had been constructed?

-   At least it was mentioned, that the two similar nuclear power stations to ours (Greifwald és Stendal) had been closed, but the Hungarian press had forgotten to mentioned that in Sweden, in The Netherlands, in Great Britten, in Spain and in Belgium parliaments made laws to avoid these technologies.

It is often mentioned, that in Hungary, the closure of the Paks Nuclear power Station is not possible, because 40% of energy comes from this source. At the same time, nobody is informed,

  • - that in Belgium 60% of nuclear energy comes from the nuclear sector, and they still want to avoid this technology.

  • - And why it is not mentioned, that in France, the nuclear giant of Europe, the Superphenix power station has been closed.

  • - Our public is also not informed, that in the USA for more than 35 years not one reactor has been built, and 70 plans had been putted to the side, 10 reactors had been closed down and 17 is waiting to be closed.

  • - It is not mentioned, also in Hungary, that in the American presidential campaign, the nuclear issue developed to be one of the key issue, and Barack Obama, the Democratic Candidate wants to avoid this technology.

  • - In Canada, 8 reactors are to be closed, while in Japan, because of economic and environmental reasons, they are also considering the closure of nuclear reactors. This process had bean fastened since the Tokai accident.

I do think, that in these countries, not nuclear experts are making these decisions because they accepted, that nuclear is not safe enough, in these countries these decisions are made because of public pressure.

In order to make these decisions, one needs the freedom of the press, in a truly democratic society. When I make this statement, I do not think, that all press workers must share our opinion, and no one of them should reflect the opinion of the nuclear lobby, what I say is that the press should reflect all opinions, reflecting also those in opposition.

There are other problems also with “our” nuclear power station. We are informed, that it is safer than it is. We are informed that they are using the most advanced western technology for safety. What we must know, that our safety technology is a hybrid. Different western technologies are safety-ing our Soviet power station. We are informed, that the Paks Nuclear Power Station is safer, than it’s Western-European and American sisters. I had read in a whole page PR article that one of our reactors (one out of the four) is the forth safest reactor on Earth.

How was that achieved? How could that be measured? That will remain an open question. Instead of such “successes”, I would be happier to know more about,  how to store our low and high activity radiating waste. This has been not solved, because according to the original plans, the Paks nuclear waste was to be stored in the Soviet Union. Since the dissolution of the Soviet Union, the Russian Duma accepted a law, that they will not receive nuclear waste from foreign countries. Such a decision was also made by the president of the Russian Highest Court. The Ukrainian and Moldavian parliaments had accepted laws, that the so called radiating trains cannot go through their territory. And Hungarian the nuclear waste is still landing in Russia.  To do that, mafia methods must be used.

When we talk about this, the usual answer comes: It is not correct to play with fear feeling of the public. I also share this opinion, but in order to avoid this, we must build confidence, trust and faith between us. We must have an equal share to public information, and press must be open to hear other opinions.

I want to keep my right, to believe more to those, who want to quit with nuclear energy. I also want to believe that in those countries, in which the civil society is stronger, and the power of industrial lobbies is weaker there is greater space to change from nuclear to alternative energy. I also believe that in those countries the nose of the nuclear power stations is also harder.

Finally; I was asked by Vlasta Toth to talk about the relation between our old Danube and the Paks Nuclear Power Station.

The answer is a very simple. There are problems in only the following cases:

  • - In case of human mistakes.
  • - In case of very hot summer days.
  • - In low level water condition.
  • - In case of Danubian floods.
  • - In case of very cold winter days.

- I will not talk about the human element, because you all have several examples. Instead of that, I will talk about the climate, which as you also all know is under a change.

- When the water temperature of the Danube is high, the multiplication and reproduction of microorganism is also higher. In these cases, the heat transforming surfaces, and the heat exchangers, work less effectively. Tthe transference of heat slows down. This can only be contra balanced by pumping, transferring more water to the mudded, and by microorganism polluted cooling systems. In these cases the effectiveness of heat exchange and a hydrological resistance is taking place. In this case, the pumps must transfer more water and must lift up Danube water to a higher level, to achieve higher pressure. Such problem occurred during the last years at the main transformer.

- In case the water level of the Danube is low, in very hot summer days, in an area not bigger than 500 meters the water temperature can reach 30°C in the cooling channel. Than a cooling problem can occur, like two years ago, when all four reactors were in operation. In case, such meteorological phenomenon the peak cooling problem can only be contra balanced, by the closure of reactors.

-  In case of extreme cold, the river is covered by ice. With ice the cooling system does not operate. There is only a little chance for such cool winter, but it is useful to remember, that during the last century there were 8 ice floods on the Hungarian section of the Danube. (It also must be known, that  our country needs the biggest amount of energy, during the coldest and darkest winter day.

Hungarian Greens are facing now a new problem. The nuclear lobby wants to build one or two more reactors (each 1000MW) at Paks, and they are waiting for governmental approval. They also want to extend the life expectancy of all four reactors. These reactors were built originally to generate 440 MW each, and  two of them already operates with a capacity of 500 MW. Now the reconstruction of the other two is taking place.

The Paks nuclear team is a really active one. they don’t want to close the power station when the 30 year ends, as originally the power station was planned for a life expectancy of 30 years, now they plan to enlarge this period with an other 20 years.

We do think that this is not only dangerous, but it is also irresponsible. We consider this an experiment on us, which we are strongly opposing. We have a lot to do, and we have difficulties in wining in all these cases. We must work together to eliminate the dangers.

Dear friends! I do think that we had learned more about climate change, than any other political family. We must not keep this information for our selves, we must share this with the public all over the world, and we must give this information to the people working at nuclear power stations.

If we are aware of the facts, we are responsible

Gyuri Droppa   


Green Democrats