CHASHMA: Pakistan plans to have seven functional nuclear plants of 1,100MW each by 2030 in addition to four units of 300MW, producing a total of 8,900MW of electricity.
Chairman of the Pakistan Atomic Energy Commission Dr Ansar Parvez told newsmen on Wednesday at the Chashma Nuclear Power Complex, 280km southwest of Islamabad, that nuclear power was set to become a major player in the country’s power sector.
He was briefing journalists on the eve of the ‘dome-laying ceremony’ of Chashma-IV nuclear power plant, which will mark the completion of civil works at the unit and will be followed by installation of the reactor.
In addition to the four units at Chashma, two of which (Chashma-III and Chashma-IV) are expected to start commercial operations by 2016, the government has begun work on two 1,100MW plants (Kanupp-II and Kanupp-III) in Karachi, whose ground-breaking ceremony was performed in November.
Dr Parvez said that work on five more plants of 1,100MW each would commence in next 10 years. “The process for site selection of plants is continuing and with the passage of time indigenisation is increasing,” he said.
The country began its journey towards proficiency in nuclear energy in 1972. The PAEC chairman said the initial years were utilised in gaining experience in safe operation of plants, building confidence and acquiring technology. The platform, he underscored, was now ready for starting producing electricity from nuclear sources at a bigger scale.
“With more than 55 reactor-years of successful operating experience to its credit, the PAEC can confidently move from technology acquisition status to actually starting contributing sizeable electrical energy to the system,” he said.
Dr Parvez said units of 300MW would no longer be installed after completion of Chashma-IV. The Kanupp-I, the 125MW facility and the first one to be 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.
He noted that availability of funds was not an issue for setting up more nuclear power plants, but agreed that there were no sources other than China from where the country could get reactors.
“Pakistan is facing a global policy of denial,” he added.
Speaking about safety, the PAEC chairman said it was a top priority for the country.