ISLAMABAD, Feb 15: Pakistan wants two more 325-MW nuclear power plants from China to meet its growing energy needs. Sources said on Wednesday that President Gen Pervez Musharraf would take up the issue with the Chinese leadership during his visit to China beginning next Sunday.

Asked if China’s membership of the Nuclear Suppliers Group (NSG) could be a hurdle in concluding a deal, the sources said, that the Chinese official, who represented his government at the concrete-pouring ceremony for Chashma Nuclear Power Plant II last year, had promised continued help to Pakistan in the civilian use of nuclear energy.

The 45-member NSG comprises nuclear supplier countries who seek to contribute to non-proliferation of nuclear weapons through implementation of guidelines for nuclear exports and nuclear-related exports.

Sources said the US had also been formally approached to provide nuclear power plants. The issue would now be raised when President Bush visits Pakistan next month.

Chairman of the Pakistan Atomic Energy Commission (PAEC) Perwaiz Butt said Pakistan was an energy-deficient country and needed nuclear power to meet its future electricity needs.

“We must build nuclear power plants for our economic development,” he said. Referring to Chashma-1, he said, was being run safely and efficiently.

“And as such we are the right kind of candidate for more nuclear power plants”, Mr Butt asserted.

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