Pakistan’s third nuclear electric power plant went operational Thursday, pumping another 330 megawatts (MW) into the national grid in a bid to ease the crippling energy shortage.
Prime Minister Yousaf Raza Gilani inaugurated the Chashma Nuclear Power Plant Unit-1 (Chasnupp-2), located near Chashma Barrage on the left bank of the River Indus, and 280 kilometres south-west of Islamabad.
A Chinese-aided power plant of similar capacity is already operational at the same location. “Today is a proud day for Pakistan and for Pakistan’s civil nuclear energy programme,” said Prime Minister Gilani as he commissioned the second unit.
Construction was already under way, with China’s assistance, on power plants C-3 and C-4 to help pave the way for the Pakistan Atomic Energy Commission (PAEC) to meet the government-assigned target to produce 8,800 MW of electricity by 2030, he said.
“The government of Pakistan will provide you full support to meet the targets,” Gilani told Chinese and Pakistani experts.
The opening of Chasnupp-2, built with the Chinese assistance, comes as Gilani is due to make a four-day official visit to China next week.
Pakistan regards China as its closest ally and views the deals as extremely important to its economy, which was dealt a huge blow by catastrophic flooding last year and suffers from sluggish investment.
“Completion of this project takes to even greater heights the long and time-tested friendship between the two countries and their people,” said the prime minister.
IAEA safeguards met
Gilani said Pakistan has been consistently complying with the requirements of nuclear safeguard agreements signed between the Government of Pakistan and the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA).
The IAEA Board of Governors had unanimously approved the safeguards agreement with respect to Chasnupp-2 in November 2006.
Pakistan‘s two research reactors and two nuclear power plants are already under IAEA safeguards.
C3 and C4
PAEC Chairman Dr Ansar Parvez said two more plants C3 and C4 had already been planned in accordance with the safeguard agreements with IAEA approved by its board of governors in March. He said first concrete of the nuclear island has been poured for C3 and the plant will come on line in 2016. Ground-breaking for C4 will take place next month.
Nuclear power currently accounts for 2.8 per cent of Pakistan’s electricity supply. With Chasnupp-2 online,
the country’s nuclear energy generation would rise to
Published in The Express Tribune, May 13th, 2011.
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