24 July, 2014 / Ramazan 25, 1435

ISLAMABAD, Sept 23: Pakistan believes in the enormous potential of peaceful uses of nuclear energy for socio-economic development, says the Chairman of the Pakistan Atomic Energy Commission, Mr Pervez Butt.

Mr Butt is representing Pakistan as one of the governors of IAEA's Board, in the 48th regular session of its general conference, in session at Vienna, Austria. Highlighting the importance of uranium as fuel, he said that the IAEA should help in the field of uranium prospecting.

A statement issued in Islamabad quoted him as saying that the developed world offered theoretical help on improving the safety of nuclear plants but it denied the developing world the supply of necessary equipment and materials to achieve that safety level.

"We are left with no other recourse but to turn to indigenous development, which at times is not cost-effective," he said and urged western countries not to restrict the supply of parts and technology essential to safe functioning of nuclear power plants.

He said: "We have maintained an active cooperation with the IAEA through coordinated research projects." Stressing the need for improving the exchange of information between member states, he said that work on 30 such projects was under way in the country.

"We look forward to IAEA for helping countries, which do not have extensive indigenous nuclear power plant capability, in developing ... practical approach", Mr Butt suggested.

Highlighting Pakistan's desire for the peaceful use of nuclear energy, he said: "Having pursued this objective since early 60s, we are one of those countries who have a long history of peaceful uses of atomic energy."

Focussing on PAEC's achievements, the commission's chairman said that Chashma's Unit-1 was operating satisfactorily and more than 30-year-old KANUPP had been locally refurbished and upgraded.

He said that the addition of CHASNUPP's Unit-2 was being installed with Chinese assistance and he termed it a model of South-South cooperation in the uses of peaceful nuclear energy.

Reiterating Pakistan's commitment to fight terrorism in all its forms and manifestations, he said that the country had "significantly augmented the already strong measures to protect our nuclear installations from the risk of ... terrorism."

To meet the urgent needs of increasing power demand in countries like Pakistan, he urged the international community to consider the setting up of 'nuclear power parks' as joint ventures to be located in especially designated sites and covered by appropriate IAEA safeguards to mitigate proliferation concerns.

He cited increasing global warming concerns and oil price hikes for the global resurgence of the nuclear power, adding that the same had been acknowledged by IAEA's annual reports.

He said that Pakistan needed more nuclear power plants to cater for power needs of accelerated national economic growth. "Another factor prompting us to go for more nuclear power plants is the unpredictable rainfall which makes hydro- electricity less dependable," Parvez Butt said.

"Having more than 30 years experience of nuclear power generation, we fully recognize our responsibility towards safety and security of our power plants. We ratified the 'Convention on Nuclear Safety' which is a demonstration of our commitment to international community."

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