ISLAMABAD: The Pakistan Atomic Energy Commission (PAEC) on Friday announced that it had successfully connected its Karachi Nuclear Power Plant Unit-3 (K-3) to the national grid.

The 1,100-megawatts generation capacity nuclear power plant (NPP) had achieved criticality on Feb 21 and was undergoing certain safety tests and procedures before it could finally be connected to the grid.

“The plant has been connected to the grid on a testing basis and is expected to be inaugurated soon after attaining full power,” a statement said.

K-3 is the second NPP in Pakistan with the generation capacity of 1,100 MW and its addition to the national grid is expected to help reduce electricity tariff in the country, the PAEC said.

Generation capacity of PAEC-operated NPP is 1,100MW

The plants have been developed with the Chinese support.

K-3 is one of the two similar NPPs located near Karachi. The other one, named K-2, was inaugurated by Prime Minister Imran Khan on May 21 last year. The groundbreaking of both the units (K-2 & K-3) of the project was performed by then prime minister Nawaz Sharif in November 2013.

The construction of K-2 and K-3 was started in August 2015 and May 2016, respectively, after approval of the Pakistan Nuclear Regulatory Authority (PNRA). The fuel loading of the plant (K-3) started in December 2021 after getting clearance from the PNRA.

The PAEC is now running six NPPs in the country. Two of them are located in Karachi, while four in district Mianwali — Chashma Nuclear Power Plant Unit 1-4.

Earlier, the collective generation capacity of all PAEC-operated NPPs was over 2,400 MWs. The addition of K-3 in the national grid will enhance the generation capacity of nuclear power plants in the country to over 3,500MW, substantially improving the overall share of nuclear power in the energy mix.

“Nuclear energy is safe, reliable, and an important source of electricity with zero carbon emission besides being economically competitive,” the PAEC said, adding that the NPPs were being operated under the safeguards of International Atomic Energy Agency.

Published in Dawn, March 5th, 2022

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