Hungary and Uzbekistan are launching a comprehensive nuclear cooperation programme designed as a key plank of their strategic partnership, Foreign Minister Péter Szijjártó said after meeting Uzbek counterpart Vladimir Norov in Budapest on Tuesday.
Hungary is “highly likely” to provide the cooling technology for Uzbekistan’s new nuclear plant, a model especially useful in places like the site of the new plant where water is scarce, Szijjártó told a press conference after the talks. Hungary will also provide training for Uzbek nuclear experts as part of its grants scheme for 170 Uzbek students wishing to study in the country, the ministry cited Szijjártó as saying. The two countries will also launch an R&D project focusing on fuel rods, he said, noting that Uzbekistan is the seventh largest Uranium producer in the world. “In the current energy crisis, capacity to produce nuclear energy has become extremely valuable; Europe won’t have secure energy supply or affordable energy without nuclear energy,” Szijjártó said. Meanwhile, Hungary’s government sees the stability of Central Asia as an important aspect of European security, and Uzbekistan has a key role in this, he said. He noted the challenges plaguing the region such as migration waves originating in Afghanistan. The region is also considered a hotbed of international terrorism, he said. “If we manage to stop these dangerous trends in Central Asia, the security of Europe will improve; something the continent is in dire need of,” he said.