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KARACHI: Establishing mini nuclear power plants is the only sensible way ahead for Pakistan to overcome its energy generation problems and to ensure improved quality of life for its citizens.

This was emphasised by experts of nuclear development and atomic energy sectors in a symposium on ‘Prospects of mini nuclear power plants in Pakistan’ held at a local hotel on Saturday.

Organised by the Pakistan Academy of Engineering (PAE), the symposium was a well-attended affair and presented diverse and enriching views of the learned speakers.

In his welcome address, PAE President Dr-Ing Jameel Ahmed Khan pointed out that energy production was surging globally with 17 trillion kilowatt hour (kWh) of electricity being produced every year for which 90 million barrels of oil was burnt each day.

“We have to develop energy strategies to power our future. Our last 50 years of experience proves that nuclear energy is the safest and most efficient of all energy resources,” he stated. “Therefore, mini and small nuclear power plants merit serious consideration for countries like Pakistan.”

Saeed Alam Siddiqui, a member of the advisory council of the Pakistan Atomic Energy Commission (PAEC), said that the small modular reactor (SMR) technology was the answer to power and electricity problems as it was matured and viable.

That was followed by a detailed presentation on development of small modular reactors by Hidayatullah Khan, SMR technology manager at the PAEC.

It outlined the expected advantages as well as the challenges in the SMR development.

Other speakers including Chairman Emeritus Pakistan Nuclear Regulatory Authority Jamshed Hashmi, PAEC’s Javed Aqleem and Waqar Butt also highlighted the early history and present status of nuclear reactors, the possibility of duplication of Kanupp in the context of incorporating SMR applications and its features.

The concluding feature of the symposium was a detailed video talk on SMR technology and off-grid distribution of power system by Mohammad Irshad, a consultant at Nuclear Power Plants, Lincoln, California.

He spoke about how the US and European countries were fast adopting SMR technology by establishing mini nuclear power plants and according to a safe estimate, a majority of the large nuclear power plants in those countries could be done away with by 2025.

Published in Dawn, April 30th, 2018

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