ISLAMABAD, Sept 18: Pakistan has conveyed its concern to the International Atomic Energy Agency that a restrictive and discriminatory export policy is being pursued by some countries about safety-related quipment.
Addressing the IAEA General Conference in Vienna on Tuesday, Pakistan Atomic Energy Commission’s chairman Dr Ansar Parvez said Pakistan was disappointed to find restrictive and discriminatory export policy by some countries which did not auger well for the IAEA’s goal of encouraging worldwide enhancement of international proclaimed safety standards.
He said vendor countries would recognise that the present policy of restricting Pakistan’s access to nuclear power technology on an entirely discriminatory basis was not only unjust but also futile and counter-productive, and wholly against the spirit of cooperation and openness that had been such a distinguishing hallmark of the global nuclear power enterprise.
“We look forward to the beginning of a new and mutually beneficial era of non-discrimination, equitability and openness in the nuclear power domain. We feel that a well-regulated international exchange of personnel and technology at all levels is invaluable not for raising technical standards but also for fostering goodwill and mutual confidence amongst nations, which is one of the primary objectives of the IAEA,” he said.
He said that under a special programme the IAEA was assisting Pakistan’s Nuclear Regulatory Authority in strengthening nuclear security regime in Pakistan through capacity building and establishment of nuclear security training centres and advanced physical protection labs.
During the past year, Pakistan has also been actively engaged in absorbing lessons of the traumatic Fukushima event. After carrying out extensive studies, the PAEC identified a comprehensive set of safety retrofits to be carried out at our installations and have prioritised them. These enhancements are now in various stages of implementation.
The PAEC chairman said that Pakistan had been engaged in a wide-ranging programme to harness application of nuclear technology for socio-economic development of the country in a variety of ways in health, agriculture, industry and energy sectors.
“The top-most priority has always been the harnessing of nuclear energy for the generation of electrical power. For several years now, our country has faced a severe electrical power shortage which has been hampering our economic growth. The nation’s accessible conventional energy resources are very limited and, therefore, the PAEC has an obligation to build nuclear power plants to help alleviate the energy shortage crises,” he said
The PAEC chairman said three nuclear power plants were already online and had been performing well. Besides, another two nuclear power plants of 340MW each were under construction at Chashma and were expected to be commissioned by 2016 with Chinese assistance under a long-standing agreement.
The PAEC, he said, had been given a target by the government to have 8800MW of nuclear power installed by the year 2030.
“With no exception, all our nuclear power plants are under the IAEA safeguards. We are signatory to a number of international conventions and treaties pertaining to nuclear safety and security. Pakistan is fully committed to participate in related activities and programmes of the IAEA including the security and safety action plans,” he said.