Rosatom, a state-owned nuclear company in Russia, has expressed interest in upgrading and expanding Hungary’s Paks nuclear power plant, including the construction and financing of new power blocks.

An official from Rosatom was quoted by the business daily Napi Gazdasag as saying the company intended to fully finance the estimated 3tn forints ($12.4bn) construction cost of the plant.

The Hungarian government is expected to float the construction tender for up to 3,000MW in new nuclear power capacity at the Paks site, to augment its aging power stations.

The current plant at Paks, which is located 100km south of the capital Budapest, generates 2,000MW of electricity by using four Russian-made VVER reactors, providing power to 40% of the country’s population.

Paks plant is expecting at least five participants for the tender, including Rosatom, France’s Areva, Westinghouse Electric, as well as South Korean and Japanese companies.

For the Paks expansion project, Rosatom is expected to showcase its VVER 1000 model; Areva its 1,600MW EPR reactor, or its smaller Atmea reactor type; and Westinghouse its AP 1000 reactor.

Built in the 1980s, the Paks reactors are undergoing life span extension projects and are expected to generate power until 2030.

The new nuclear units are intended to increase Hungary’s reliance on nuclear power to 60% of the electricity mix, and are expected to be operational between 2020 and 2030.

Fuel for Hungary’s existing four nuclear power blocks is being provided by Rosatom, through its subsidiary TVEL.