Civilian use of nuclear energy

Published: March 27, 2012

Gilani demands nuclear technology access for peaceful uses; says Pakistan has enhanced security of its atomic weapons. PHOTO: AFP

Ever since the revelation that Abdul Qadeer Khan had been operating a nuclear black market, Pakistan has had to constantly defend its right to be a nuclear power in a way that India — which went nuclear at the same time as us, or Israel, which never officially admitted to its nuclear capability — never had to. The international community continues to worry that Pakistan’s nuclear weapons may fall into the hands of terrorists, a fear that ignores the many changes we made to our nuclear protocols and safety in the last few years. Thus, while Prime Minister Yousaf Raza Gilani’s call for us to be given civil nuclear technology at a nuclear-security summit in Seoul will most likely be rebuffed, perhaps, the time is right to admit Pakistan to the club of responsible nuclear powers.

The benefits of a civil nuclear technology deal to Pakistan are clear. Perhaps, the most important benefit is that it will allow us to harness nuclear energy in service of our energy woes. The rest of the world, particularly the US, might have some reservations but those could be easily addressed. If Pakistan is so keen on a nuclear deal, the US could propose some conditions that allow them to keep a greater watch on our nuclear activities.

For us, the aim is to be treated on parity with India as a nuclear power and find a solution to the power crisis. If we were able to produce nuclear energy, this could also prove beneficial to the US, which because of its enmity with Iran has been trying to throw a spanner in the Iran gas pipeline. Thus, we are within our rights to demand civilian nuclear technology. The greatest fear — that our nuclear weapons may fall into the hands of the Taliban — have always been inflated, since the military itself has been repeatedly attacked by militants and would have no desire to hand over to them a weapon that would make them untouchable.

Having demonstrated our nuclear safety and security, it is time for the world to acknowledge us as a legitimate nuclear power.

Published in The Express Tribune, March 28th, 2012.

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Reader Comments (11)

  • reasonable
    Mar 28, 2012 - 12:01AM

    @ editor
    “For us, the aim is to be treated on parity with India as a nuclear power”

    Why it always have to do with India. You have legitimate demand for energy you could always demand it from international community, may be they give it to you right away or they may not give you right away but reasoning that as india has it so i also should have one is wrong thinking and on the contrary it will dilute your genuine requirements and may look to the world at large as another of Pakitans India centric demand.

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  • ashok
    Mar 28, 2012 - 12:39AM

    Sir, you totally forgot the proven reserves of 500 billion tons of coal reserves in Thar which remain untapped even after decades of known availability.

    Generation of electricity using coal is CHEAPER, QUICKER AND LESS COSTLY. The technology is easily available from dozens of countries including all-weather friend China. The technology is easily transferable unlike nuclear technology.

    Civilian nuclear technology is very costly, longer gestation period and has inherent risks involved.

    It defies logic that a country with coal reserve good enough for meeting the electricity and industry demands of Pakistan for more than 500 years is begging for civil nuclear technology. Unless of course there are ulterior motives for instance, collection of fissile material for more nuclear bombs from civilian reactors.

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  • ashok
    Mar 28, 2012 - 7:40AM

    Pakistan may get civilian nuclear technology if it offers to barter the civilian nuclear technology with either the terrorists of all hues and shades or world-famous international nuclear proliferator A Q Khan.

    You give to get.

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  • Cautious
    Mar 28, 2012 - 8:01AM

    Pakistan has been caught red handed selling nuke technology to some of the most despicable regimes on the planet, Pakistan has been caught harboring the most wanted terrorist on the planet, and Pakistan thinks it has a sovereign right to allow terrorist to use it’s territory to attack it’s neighbors and allies. Does that sound like a country that you would give nuke technology to — didn’t think so.

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  • harry stone
    Mar 28, 2012 - 10:33AM

    @reasonable:

    Demand from the international community……..what demands are these? Because PAK choose not to invest in power generation and instead build nuclear weapons it is now going to demand other nations should pay for their folly.

    Sir you are a fool.

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  • Bombay dude
    Mar 29, 2012 - 11:59AM

    World will be fool and seriously doomed if they give more any nuclear support to Pakistan, a nation of mullah cowboys. And why do the Pakistani leadr dream about parity with India. Pakistan is not equal to India in any aspect or on any platform. Right from the day it as conceived it had been inferior and it’s super inferiority complex has what created millions of terrorists.

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  • Hasan Ansari
    Mar 29, 2012 - 10:33PM

    China has provided Pakistan 3 nuclear plants and the know how to build one. There is no need to have a civil nuclear technology deal to get a stamp of approval. Pakistan should start building Nuclear Plants on its own and offer other countries nuclear plants after its has built a few with China’s help.

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  • Hasan Ansari
    Mar 29, 2012 - 10:35PM

    Pakistan needs to focus on Coal not saying we shouldn’t focus on Nuclear Energy. Pakistan is just unfortunate to have lost 5 years to the PPP government who believe in the status quo. They haven’t moved an inch on anything including energy.

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  • Thomas
    Mar 31, 2012 - 8:56AM

    It is going to happen right the way. Keep the pot boiling.

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  • faizal
    Apr 3, 2012 - 8:19AM

    GOOD going….keep dreaming..:)

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  • Mukhtiar Badshah
    Apr 14, 2012 - 1:47PM

    There is no shortage of electricity to make atomic energy, problem is stealing of electricity which Govt call line losses and impossible to control in present system

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