ISLAMABAD, Oct 2: Pakistan has joined a group of countries which are certified to produce ‘Class-I nuclear safety equipment’, allowing it to locally manufacture spare parts for its nuclear power stations under embargo conditions and contribute towards a long-term nuclear energy programme.
The Pakistan Nuclear Regulatory Authority (PNRA) granted a licence to a unit of Heavy Mechanical Complex (HMC) on Tuesday to manufacture specialised equipment related to core nuclear island that are directly linked to controlling and maintaining activities in a reactor.
“Although it is a happy moment that Pakistan has moved one more step towards indigenisation of nuclear programme, we will ensure that quality is not compromised in haste or in achieving any production target,” said Engineer Anwar Habib, Chairman of the PNRA, at a ceremony held at HMC-III, Taxila.
The PNRA has granted the licence to produce Class-II and Class-III equipment after almost three years of regular scrutiny of working standards and ensuring that the quality of parts and equipment produced at HMC-III meet the international standards. The HMC-III is a specialised workshop under the Pakistan Atomic Energy Commission (PAEC).
The PNRA chairman said the HMC-III had already achieved certification for nuclear safety class 2 and 3 which related to manufacture of less sensitive parts.
“Class-I deals with equipment and parts like tanks, vessels, cooling systems, steam generators, etc., at the nuclear island and any compromise over quality at this stage cannot be tolerated,” he said.
Engineer Habib said: “Some of the equipment have a design life of 60 years that is the design life of the whole reactor nowadays – therefore the concept of replacement or repair of parts should not be considered at the start.”
He said it would be ensured that HMC-III strictly complied with licencing requirements and met the international standards.
Currently the PAEC has three main subsidiaries, HMC-III, the National Centre for Non-Destructive Testing and the Pakistan Welding Institute, which play a key role in the indigenous development of the nuclear programme and nuclear energy in the country.Highlighting the importance of localised development of parts, equipment and human resource, PAEC Chairman Ansar Pervaiz said the first embargo faced by Pakistan in the field of nuclear science was in early 1970s by Canada – soon after the commercial operation of Karachi Nuclear Power Plant (Kanupp).
“Not only that we have beaten those who claimed that Pakistan will not be able to maintain the pace in nuclear field but Kanupp has surpassed its designed life by 10 years now and that is the result of local development,” he said.
The designed life of Kanupp was 30 years which ended in 2002 and the pant is still operational producing electricity on a commercial basis.
The PAEC chief said: “At present we have three safe and sound operational nuclear power plants while Chashma-III and Chashma-IV will be online in 2016.”
He expressed the confidence that the target to produce 8,800 megawatt from nuclear energy by 2030 would be achieved and the share of localisation would be much higher in the coming years because high-capacity nuclear power plants producing around 1,000 MW would be established after completion of Chashma-IV.
Talking to newsmen, Dr Ansar Pervaiz said Pakistan had been constantly under international embargoes and localised manufacturing of parts would help it keep up the required maintenances and make required improvements at its nuclear power plants.
The speakers said that the achievement of HMC-III to manufacture Class-I nuclear safety equipment would provide support to Pakistan’s defence related nuclear programme.