Prime Minister Imran Khan on Friday virtually inaugurated the Karachi Nuclear Power Plant Unit-2 (K-2).
Speaking during the ceremony, he said that the unit — established due to cooperation between Pakistan and China — will generate 1,100MW of clean energy. "This is important for us because Pakistan is among the top 10 countries at risk due to climate change."
He said that glaciers supply 80 per cent of Pakistan's water needs. "Glaciers are melting at a rapid speed, and our coming generations will face an acute water shortage as well as food security issues if the effects of climate change are not reversed."
Therefore, clean energy is important for us, he said. He also lamented the fact that Pakistan had not tried to use renewable resources for producing electricity. "Unfortunately, we have not focused on producing energy from water despite the country having the potential to do so."
He said that that the project will help to train manpower and facilitate technology transfer from China, adding that 40,000 experts visited the country over an extended period of time. "This is another area of cooperation with China."
The premier added that Pakistan was also celebrating 70 years of diplomatic relations with China on Friday. "It is a very unique relationship," he said, adding that it extends to all levels.
"We are confident that China will stand with us during difficult times. It is fortunate for us that Pakistan has strong ties with an emerging power and a developed country such as China," he said, adding that people-to-people contact will also now increase.
"China has faced problems similar to the ones Pakistan is facing today and we have a lot to learn from them," he said. "Pakistan can learn a lot from China on controlling pollution, ending poverty and corruption."
Speaking on the occasion, the chairman of the China Atomic Energy Authority said that the power plant was being inaugurated on the 70th anniversary of the establishment of diplomatic relations between Pakistan and China.
He said China and Pakistan have been extending support to each other and cooperating in various fields. He said the two countries have also been cooperating in the peaceful use of nuclear energy. He expressed the hope that bilateral cooperation will further expand in the future, Radio Pakistan reported.
The K-2 plant has 60-year life expectancy, extendable to 20 more years. It is designed with higher plant availability and capacity factors, and extended refuelling cycle.
The construction of K-2 commenced in November 2013, whereas its fuel loading started on Dec 1, 2020 after approval from the Pakistan Nuclear Regulatory Authority.
A series of cold and hot functional commissioning tests related to plant operation and safety were conducted, before achieving criticality at the end of February this year. After further reactor physics tests, the plant was connected to national grid on March 18, 2021 for trial operation and power escalation tests.