ISLAMABAD, July 14: The Pakistan Atomic Energy Commission (PAEC) has been assigned a special task by the government to set up 13 new nuclear power plants to generate 8800 MW of power in the next 25 years with a view to meet growing requirements of the industrial sector. Informed sources told Dawn here on Thursday that when work on the 300-MW Chashma Nuclear Power Plant-2 had started in May last, the PAEC authorities were directed to accelerate their efforts to install 13 more nuclear power plants both with local and foreign financial and technical support. Each plant would roughly have a capacity of 600-700 MW.

Chashma-2 will be completed in 2011 at a revised cost of $850 million for which Chinese were mainly providing financial and technical support. Chashma-1 was also built with Chinese assistance and was currently producing about 1400 MW of electricity at 95 per cent plus capacity, which sources claimed, was one of the highest in the world.

Sources said that PAEC was expecting to establish 13 new nuclear power plants mostly through indigenous efforts, especially due to the transfer of technology being received from Chinese for Chashma-2. The PAEC is expected to be self-sufficient in all aspects of designing, installation, construction and operations of the proposed nuclear power plants.

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