SARANG S SHEIKH
THE CONSTRUCTIONof K-2 and K-3, the two civil nuclear power generation plants, have the capacity to manage ecosystems, preserve biodiversity and protect Karachi population from natural hazards as they cover the internationally agreed safety levels, security measures, design barriers, construction sites and operational phases.
“Pakistan is going to enhance environmental as well as individual security, and it will be better if public is aware about to reduce the friction between practices and perceptions, and it will be wrong to say that Pakistan is going to build KANUPP-1 and KANUPP-2 without any rational calculation of safety and security,” said an official close to the construction of these plants while talking to this scribe.
Pakistan is the first Muslim country in the world to construct and operate civil nuclear power plants. The Pakistan Atomic Energy Commission (PAEC), the scientific and nuclear governmental agency, is solely responsible for operating these power plants.
“The KANUPP, the countrys first nuclear power reactor, which is a small 137 MWe Canadian pressurized heavy water reactor (PHWR), had started in 1971 and is under regular international safeguards is situated at Paradise Point in Sindh, about 25 km west of Karachi. It is operated at reduced power,” said the official requesting anonymity.
The second unit is Chashma-I (CHASNUPP 1) in Punjab province in the north, which is a 325 MWe two-loop pressurised water reactor (PWR) supplied by Chinas CNNC under safeguards with its life span of 40 years. The plant, and the following 3 units, were built using international design codes and standards.
About the reason behind constructing Karachi Nuclear Power Plant (K-2) and Karachi Nuclear Power Plant (K-3) near the Karachi coast, the official said these plants, having reactors with 1100MW each as in uranium fueled power reactors water, is a necessary requirement in transfer circuit, for cooling systems and to control chain reaction.
It is to be mentioned here that certain circles in the country, while mentioning the Fukushima accidents, are creating an impression that these civil nuclear power plants do not have the capacity to manage ecosystems, preserve biodiversity and protect population of Karachi communities from natural hazards.
In the post-Fukushima scenario, environmental safety and security in context of nuclear energy is always a complicated and debatable phenomenon throughout the world. But Pakistans history is eyewitness to the fact when India was supported and Pakistan was opposed by nuclear suppliers from building a safe nuclear fuel cycle, the official mentioned.
Nowadays this same opposing trend can also be seen within Pakistan from the side of those anti-nuclear activists, who dont want to realize the importance of Sino-Pakistan civil nuclear agreement.
“Sometimes the lack of awareness is more dangerous than the existing challenges,” remarked the official while referring to those opposing the acquisition of civil nuclear energy by Pakistan, which is desperately needing it in the wake of acute energy crisis.
The official said that environment, environmental degradation, unsustainable development, ecological effects, natural disasters and polluted water are major issues in Pakistan as no substantial progress has so far been made in this regard. However, he explained that in the context of nuclear energy, it would be wrong to say that Pakistan is an inexperienced nuclear state.
He was certain in saying that the Sino-Pakistan civil nuclear deal is not a lose-lose scenario, as all bilateral/trilateral civil nuclear declared facilities of Pakistan are and will be under specific safeguard of the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA). Similarly, PNRA and PAEC are playing tremendous role in safety and security measures of nuclear facilities, because Pakistans future is safe only in the hands of peaceful use of nuclear technology, he maintained.