Hungary - Energy and power



All natural sources of power are state property, and all electric power plants are under state supervision. In 2001, installed capacity was 8.3 million kW. Electricity production in 2000 totaled 33,400 kWh, of which 58.8% came from fossil fuels and 40.3% came from nuclear power, while hydropower and other sources respectively accounted for less than 1%. By the end of 1963, all villages were connected with electric power. Major power plants are the oil-fueled Danube Thermal Power Plant at Százhalombatta (1,850 MW); the Tisza Thermal Power Plant at Tiszaújváros (840 MW); and the Gagarin Power Plant at Visonta (800 MW) near Mt. Kékes, which uses lignite from an open-pit mine. The first Hungarian nuclear power plant, at Pécs, consisting of four Soviet-designed reactors, began production in 1982. As of 2002, modernization was planned to extend the operating life of the reactors, which would end between 2021 and 2017, by 20 years. In April 2003 there was a radioactive gas leak at the plant caused by damage to two fuel rods in one of the units. The leak reportedly caused no threat to the environment, but could result in financial losses to the plant's owners.

Production of coal has declined since the late 1980s, as use of oil and natural as energy sources as grown. Coal production in 2001 was 16 million tons, compared with 22.4 million tons in 1989. Brown coal, mined near Doro and Gyöngyös, accounted for most of the country's production. Production of oil increased from 1,036,000 tons in 1959 to 1,920,000 tons in 1994; the government continues to sponsor oil exploration. In 2001, crude oil production was 27,000 barrels per day. Natural gas production totaled 3.4 billion cu m in 2000. Uranium, discovered in 1953 near Pécs, is expected to supply its nuclear station until 2020.

Increased energy production has not kept up with consumption, and reliance on foreign power sources has been increasing. In 2001 Hungary consumed about 146,000 barrels per day of oil (compared with production of 27,000 barrels). Most oil imports come from Russia. Beginning in 1962, direct links were established between the power systems of Hungary and neighboring countries; the most important transmission line connects Vinnitsa in the Ukraine with Albertirsa in Hungary.

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