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A plan to extend the life of Hungary's only nuclear power plant has sparked protests from environmentalists. The four reactors in the southern town of Paks supply around 40 per cent of Hungary's electric power. The oldest reactor was built in 1982 and will be decommissioned by 2012 unless the 20-year extension is approved. A parliamentary vote is expected at the end of this month. Over 20 environmental groups have sent an open letter to Hungary's lawmakers, asking them not to support the bill meant to prolong Paks' original 30-year life span by two decades. The plan "makes no mention of the risks and does not even attempt to examine the possibility of different forms of electrical energy", they said.
They claim the parliamentary resolution is to be voted on before environmental impact studies of the plant are completed, which is likely in 2007. Government officials say Paks is an irreplaceable and safe source of energy.
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