STAFF REPORT MIANWALI: As a major progress towards securing the latest civil nuclear technology and minimizing the energy shortfall, Pakistan plans to set up seven functional nuclear plants of 1100 MW each by 2030. In this regard, the government has successfully installed the dome of the 325 MW Chashma-4 (C-4) power plant at the Chashma Nuclear Power Complex that marked the completion of civil works at the unit and would be followed by installation of a reactor.
As per the Pakistan government, by 2030 the Pakistan Atomic Energy Comission (PAEC) will be operating four nuclear power plants of 325 to 340 MW and seven nuclear power plants with the capacity of 1100 MW each, in addition to four units of 300 MW, producing a total of 8,900MW.
The power generated through C-3 and C-4 (650 MW) will be linked to national grid by 2016. Pakistan would install more nuclear power plants to generate 42000 MW under its Vision 2050.
The China National Nuclear Cooperation (CNNC) has committed $6.5 billion financing for the construction of a major nuclear power project in the port city of Karachi, which will have two reactors with a capacity of 1,100 megawatts each.
While giving briefing to media at the dome laying ceremony, Chairman PAEC Dr. Ansar Parvez said that nuclear power has taken firm footing and would help alleviate energy crisis in the country.
He also said that Chashma-IV is said to be four months ahead of the schedule and would become operational in 2016 along with another unit of equal capacity that is being installed at the same venue – Chashma-III.
With reference to the power generation cost, Dr. Ansar Parvez said that in the prevailing situation when the power tariffs are unbearable, the power generation of this nuclear plant would be around Rs. 7/kwh. He also said that this cost would come down after the prescribed period as this price includes repayment of the project loan.
Similarly, he revealed, by producing 1100MW from nuclear power plant would save one billion dollars against the thermal power plant generation.
About the constant power shortfall, the PAEC chairman said that if we do not opt for this option, which is the future source of power generation, the cost of power outages would be about 10 times more of the nuclear power generation cost.
Regarding the safety of these plants, he explained since the technology used for these plants is of higher quality, the spread of nuclear radiation is almost zero as the Chashma-I and II installed about over 40 years back could produce only a minor nuclear waste.
Chashma-III and Chashma-IV are the last of the 340MW plants being installed in Pakistan which is now moving towards large-scale units.
Dr Parvez said that units of 300MW would no longer be installed after completion of Chashma-IV. The Kanupp-I, the 125MW facility and the first one set up in the country, he said, would meanwhile be wound up after Kanupp-II became operational.
The design life of Kanupp-I ended in 2002 and the plant was re-licensed by the Pakistan Nuclear Regulatory Authority in 2004 after upgrades. “The Kanupp-II and Kanupp-III will lay foundation of large-sized nuclear power plants,” he said.
In 1970s, Pakistan was the worlds 15th state to get the nuclear technology for power generation. In 1976, embargoes were slapped on Pakistan and the work on this nuclear plant had got suspended. However, after a long 30-year hectic research, the country could indigenously produce the fuel and make spares in 2002 to run this plant.
At the ceremony, Pakistan and China have affirmed their resolve to enhance cooperation in the area of civil nuclear cooperation in order to resolve the debilitating power crisis in the country.