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Nuclear: The only way out to energy calamity

PAKISTAN is passing through the most problematic phase of its history. The acute energy crisis is creating a serious difficulty for our frail economy. Our energy needs are surpassing supply triggering hours long power outages daily across the country. Resulting, the economic growth rate of 5.1 per cent may not be achieved in the current fiscal year; we are expecting a growth rate of around 4.5 per cent. Due to increase in population urbanisation and the rising power demand of industrial and commercial customers, the energy crisis will continue to aggravate. If this occurs, the energy challenge in the country could well become an energy calamity. As a result of closure of industrial units; joblessness will rise and a vast majority of Pakistanis will fall below the poverty line. Consequences of this energy crisis are severe and that is threatening to the country’s economic well-being. Therefore, it is crucial to search for an alternative source of energy. The nuclear power generation is one of the currently available alternative sources of energy. The development of nuclear energy promotes economic development and ensures greater reliance and independence from petroleum imports. It reduces reliance on foreign sources of energy in a manner that is climate change friendly due to the lack of carbon emissions. In 1972, Pakistan had established its first nuclear power plant at Karachi – KANUPP. After over 40 years of flawless record of safety and security in operating these power plants, it is pertinent to follow the nuclear power option. According to Open Energy Information (OpenEI) the per megawatt average USD cost comparison of Wind (onshore), solar PV, and nuclear energy are: Levelized Cost of Energy 60, 280, and 60; Overnight Capital Cost 1.57, 5.10, and 3.10; Fixed Operating Cost 10.95, 32.03, and 85.66; Variable Operating Cost 6.45, 0, 0.49; Capacity Factor (per cent) 38, 21, and 90 – respectively. This comparison illustrates the viability of nuclear, with the most cost effective power and capacity adjusted technology. Another report on energy and emissions cost analysis by Brookings Institute reveals the net benefits of new nuclear, hydro, and natural gas combined cycle plants far outweigh the net benefits of new wind or solar plants, with the most cost effective low carbon power technology being determined to be nuclear power. In the current scenario, where Pakistan is just dependent on foreign energy sources, the only solution is nuclear. The development of nuclear energy would significantly reduce Pakistan’s reliance on foreign energy sources and will support our frail economy.


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