ISLAMABAD: The Pakistan Atomic Energy Commission (PAEC) on Tuesday announced it had achieved criticality of its 1,100MW nuclear power station in Karachi, one of the two major nuclear plants in the city.

The commission said the 1,100MW plant, called K-2, would go through certain safety tests and procedures before it is connected to the national grid by the end of March.

K-2 is one of the two similar under-construction nuclear power plants (NPPs) located near Karachi and will be inaugurated for commercial operation by the end of May this year. The other one, K-3, is expected to become operational in 2022.

K-2 is the first nuclear power plant in Pakistan with a generation capacity of over 1,000MW and will help reduce loadshedding in summers by generating environment friendly, affordable and reliable base load electricity for the country.

The PAEC was previously running five NPPs in the country (one at Karachi and four at Chashma) with collective generation capacity of nearly 1,400MW. Therefore, the K-2 would almost double the capacity of the country’s NPPs, improving considerably the share of nuclear power in the overall energy mix.

The loading of nuclear fuel onto the plant was started on December 1 last year after clearance from the Pakistan Nuclear Regulatory Authority. The PAEC had at the time announced that it would achieve COD commercial operations of K-2 in April 2021 and that of K-3 by the end of 2021.

On Tuesday, the PAEC spokesperson said that the first plant was expected to reach COD by the end of May and the K-3 in 2022.

Published in Dawn, March 3rd, 2021

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