Pakistan has planned to purchase two nuclear power plants with a combined capacity of 2,000 megawatts from China, which will be utilised for setting up Karachi Nuclear Power Plant-2 (Kanupp-2) and Kanupp-3 and help mitigate the energy crisis.
According to documents available with The Express Tribune, China National Nuclear Corporation (CNNC) and Pakistan Atomic Energy Commission (PAEC) are likely to enter into an agreement to conduct a joint study to finalise design modifications, which would enable Pakistan to acquire two nuclear power plants, each having power generation capacity of 1,000 megawatts.
After completion of this project, a contract for establishing Kanupp-2 and Kanupp-3 will be negotiated.
The Planning Commission has said CNNC may be asked to grant intellectual property rights for the existing 1,000-megawatt plant and suggest steps which could help Pakistan avoid violation of property rights.
China has three state-owned corporations, which can own and operate nuclear power plants, including China National Nuclear Corporation (CNNC), China Guangdong Nuclear Power Holding Company (CGNPC) and China Power Investment Corporation (CPIC).
CGNPC currently operates four nuclear power plants of 3,758 megawatts in China and also involved in 16 other projects having capacity of 25,000 megawatts, which are under construction. The company’s focus has been on three-loop 1,000-megawatt plants.
The Planning Commission also questioned whether PAEC had approached the three nuclear power plant developers in order to ensure fair competition in offering the plants. “Moreover comparison of intellectual property rights of other nuclear power plant vendors may also be brought out,” the commission said.
In an attempt to increase power generation capacity, the government focuses on developing nuclear energy on a relatively bigger scale. Accordingly, the Energy Security Action Plan has envisaged increasing the share of nuclear power by installing 8,800-megawatt nuclear power plants by 2030.
The import of nuclear power plants will lead to electricity generation at cheaper rates compared to the thermal source, contributing to tackling the power crisis. About a month ago, power shortages reached their peak at around 8,000 to 8,500 megawatts, forcing long hours of outages across the country.
The load-shedding has disrupted industrial activity, denting overall economic growth of the country, which stood at 2.4 per cent last fiscal year.
Published in The Express Tribune, November 11th, 2011.