MIANWALI, April 8: Dr Ishfaque Ahmed, special adviser to the prime minister on strategic programme, said on Friday Pakistan would build more nuclear power plants after the Chashma Nuclear Power Plant Unit-2 (CHASNUPP-2) to achieve its target of generating 8,800mw by 2020.

He was speaking at the ground-breaking ceremony of the Chashma-2project, which will be completed by 2011 at a cost of Rs51 billion.

The project, with a gross production capacity of 340mw, will be jointly built by the China National Nuclear Corporation (CNNC) and the Pakistan Atomic Energy Commission (PAEC) under the monitoring of the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA).

The plant using enriched uranium and light water will be the country’s third nuclear power plant after the 137mw Karachi Nuclear Power Plant (Kanupp) and the 325mw Chashma Nuclear Power Plant (CHASNUPP), phase-I.

Recalling the problems faced by Pakistan in the wake of embargo imposed by the Canadian government on Kanupp soon after India had conducted nuclear tests in 1974, the adviser said that Pakistani scientists had been able to efficiently run and manage the plant.

He said an efficient and safe performance of CHASNUPP-1 demonstrated that the design, construction and nuclear power production capability of China was dependable.

“The creation of an independent Pakistan Nuclear Regulatory Authority (PNRA) will be helpful in ensuring safety and integrity of nuclear power plants,” he said.

Chinese Ambassador to Pakistan Ziang Chunxiang said his country wanted Pakistan to develop its socio-economic sector and CHASNUPP-II would greatly contribute in this regard.

Pakistan Atomic Energy Commission (PAEC) chairman Dr Pervez Butt said CHASNUPP-1 was being safely operated at 95 per cent capacity which was one of the highest in the world and this success had led to the launching of CHASNUPP-2 at the same site, which would be followed by more plants in coming years to meet the target of 8,800mw electricity set by the government for the commission.

He said President Pervez Musharraf and Prime Minister Shaukat Aziz fully supported the development of a strong base for producing nuclear electricity.

PAEC Member (power) Dr Javed Iqleem said that increasing oil prices had heightened the importance of nuclear power as it was more reliable.

He said CHASNUPP-2 was a major milestone in the country’s history. It will use pressurized water reactor technology and with the experience of CHASNUPP-I and improved design it will address the Pakistan Nuclear Regulatory Authority (PNRA) regulations based on IAEA’s safety requirements.

Briefing newsmen on the overall nuclear power situation, Dr Iqleem said till March 31, 2005, CHASNUPP-I had produced 7,852mkw of electricity and with the solution of problems in its teething period, the availability and capacity factor had increased steadily.

For the last eight months, the capacity factor of CHASNUPP-I had been 95 per cent. Based on the concept of defence-in-depth, it was comparable with the best plants in the world, he said.

In reply to a question, Dr Iqleem said Pakistan had produced its own fuel for Kanupp but would not produce it for CHASNUPP-2 because it was easily available from China.

He said 38 to 40 per cent of the project funding would be made in Pakistani currency for acquiring material and services from local market.

The ceremony was attended by CNNC Vice-President Wang Shoujun and Foreign Secretary Riaz Mohammed Khan.