ISLAMABAD: Centre for International Strategic Studies (CISS) on Saturday recommended greater investments in nuclear energy programme for supporting economic and social development, while at the same time attending to the climate emergency facing the country.

CISS, which is an Islamabad based think tank, specialising in strategic issues, made these recommendations following the inauguration of 1100 MW Karachi Nuclear Power Plant Unit 2 (K-2).

“CISS underscores the need for constructing additional nuclear reactors to help meet its rising energy demands as they curb greenhouse gas emissions and climate change through low-carbon electricity generation,” the think tank said in a statement spelling out its recommendation after hosting a webinar on ‘Sustainable Development through Nuclear and Space Technologies in Pakistan’.

The government is pursuing an ambitious plan to generate 8800 MW by 2030 up from the current 2500 MW. This means a number of plants would have to be commissioned in next few years. The target of 40,000 MW for 2050 is even more challenging.

The country because of recent investment in coal based power plants and sluggish growth in electricity requirements is currently faced with power surplus. However, experts warn that the government should not under-invest in the power sector in view of the current situation and prepare for the future requirement through clean and cheaper sources.

Pakistan, CISS said, is one of the countries in the region that are most vulnerable to climate change.

Climate change, it is feared, could heavily impact Pakistan’s water supply and consequently the country’s energy supply as 34pc of power generation is based on hydropower.

Pakistan Atomic Energy Commission Chairman Mohammad Naeem, while echoing that sentiment at the webinar said that nuclear power is safe to operate and the inauguration of K-2 is a milestone in the Pakistan’s quest to increase the share of clean nuclear energy in national and global mix.

Mr Naeem announced that another plant of 1100 MW output will become functional in next 8-10 months.

Both K-2 and K-3 power plants will provide 2200 MWs of uninterrupted and clean electricity to the national grid for next 80 years.

Sindh Minister for Mines and Mineral Development Mir Shabbir Ali Bijarani acknowledged the contribution of nuclear energy in the socio-economic development of Sindh and Karachi as a metropolitan city and economic hub.

Bijrani said the KANUPP’s inauguration was a milestone in the energy security of country.

China has been assisting Pakistan in setting up civilian nuclear reactors under the ‘grandfather clause’ - the Pak-China agreement for constructing nuclear reactors which was signed before China joined the NSG in 2004.

Wang Yong Fu, Head of China Zhongyuan Engineering Corporation (CZEC), assured China’s technical support to Pakistan for projects related to nuclear energy and related peaceful applications sectors.

He also indicated at helping Pakistan with indigenization of nuclear energy.

Executive Director CISS, Ambassador Naqvi emphasised the increasing role of peaceful use of nuclear and space capabilities in pursuit of socio-economic development.

Published in Dawn, May 23rd, 2021

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