Budget: Govt looking to charge up nuclear power plants

Published: May 31, 2012
The Pakistan Atomic Energy Commission has been assigned an ambitious target of 8,800 megawatts nuclear power generation by 2030. PHOTO:FILE

The Pakistan Atomic Energy Commission has been assigned an ambitious target of 8,800 megawatts nuclear power generation by 2030. PHOTO:FILE


The atomic energy commission budget has been increased by a whopping 78% to Rs39.2 billion in the upcoming financial year in a bid to up the ante on nuclear power plants for cheaper electricity.

The allocation for Pakistan Atomic Energy Commission (PAEC) is almost 11% of the total federal development budget estimated at Rs360 billion for the financial year 2012-13.

A major chunk of the PAEC budget has been allocated to two nuclear power plants, according to the budget documents. An amount of Rs34.6 billion has been set aside for Chashma Nuclear Power Plants, C3 and C4. The total cost of these two projects is Rs190 billion which will be partially funded by Rs136 billion Chinese loan.

The government has so far spent Rs62.4 billion on the mega project having 660 megawatts generation capacity. With Rs34.6 billion additional spending, the government will be able to complete almost half of the work by June 2013.

To meet the growing energy deficit, the PAEC has been assigned an ambitious target of 8,800 megawatts nuclear power generation by 2030. Pakistan is keen to seek assistance from China and France to meet the goal, according to a senior government official. Due to inconsistency of policies, the country’s energy mix has drastically changed with hydel generation declining to a third and thermal generation increasing to two-thirds, resulting to expensive power generation.

Both nuclear power plants C3 and C4 had been planned in accordance with the safeguard agreements with IAEA.

Currently, PAEC is carrying out 28 projects and studies having an estimated cost of Rs237 billion. According to the documents, an amount of Rs35.5 million has also been sanctioned to carry out survey and feasibility studies of six additional nuclear power plants sites. The total cost of the feasibility studies is Rs150 million.

An amount of Rs790 million has been set aside for a joint pre-project feasibility and design study of a 1,000 megawatts nuclear power plant in Karachi. Similarly, for the development of project team for site development and installation of 300 megawatts and 1,000 megawatts nuclear power plants in Karachi, another sum of Rs100 million has been sanctioned.

For Pakistan Nuclear Regulatory Authority, the government has sanctioned Rs400 million.

Bringing an end to uncertainty hanging over Thar Coal Gasification project, the government has eventually set aside Rs900 million for the all important scheme that could develop another source of cheap electricity generation. The project has been opposed by tooth and nail by planning commission, allegedly on behalf of the oil lobby.

The total cost of the project is Rs8.9 billion including Rs5.84 billion foreign loan. So far, the government has not spent a single penny on this project.

The government has also increased defense production ministry budget by 37.5% to Rs2 billion, almost the entire amount or Rs1.9 billion has been allocated to the project of installation of ship lift and transfer system for providing docking and repair facilities to submarines and commercial vehicles. The total cost of this project is Rs5.6 billion of which Rs2.4 billion have been so far spent on the project.

The development budget of defence ministry has been reduced to Rs3.2 billion, lower by Rs640 million or 16.6% over the current fiscal year. Out of that an amount of Rs2.5 billion has been sanctioned for defence ministry and Rs717 million for the national space agency namely Pakistan Space and Upper Atmosphere Research Commission.

Published in The Express Tribune, May 31st, 2012.

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Reader Comments (14)

  • Imran
    May 31, 2012 - 11:21AM

    Credit to ppp


  • Zamir Malik
    May 31, 2012 - 11:29AM

    Could someone Explain that Pakistan claimed that it made atomic bomb in 1980s but Now Pakistan is always begging for Nuclear Technology and Nuclear Power plants either from America or then with China and with France. If we developed this technology in real sense then why even after more than 20 years we still are begging. I cannot understand what is really going on??? I really want to ask Dr Abdul Qadeer Khan that tell me the difference that if someone really develop this technology and some who will copy the secrets of others to just claim they have this technology but infact they know little about that tech. Pakistan have not been able to build a Single Nuclear Power Plant on its own and this raises Serious questions that weather we really know Nuclear Technology tit bits or ???????


  • vigilant
    May 31, 2012 - 11:37AM

    what about hydro-power projects??? they are extremely important to for economy not in terms of power but for agri-water……we need more dams to meet requirements of Indus basin treaty signed between India and Pakistan…..what kind of fools are occupying positions in Planning commission….


  • Shoaib
    May 31, 2012 - 12:08PM

    Pretty strange that a country who proudly claim to be a nuclear power is dependant on China for nuclear power technology?????


  • IZ
    May 31, 2012 - 1:21PM

    Nuclear power isn’t a bad idea at all, as long as they make sure quality standards are maintained (not always easy to do in Pakistan).


  • THE
    May 31, 2012 - 2:13PM

    There is a difference between the nuclear technology that’s used for electricitiy production and the one used for producing bombs etc. The idiots who are complaining above need to use google and stop winning. These people are pathetic!!!


  • antanu
    May 31, 2012 - 2:27PM

    <p>@Zamir Malik:
    India made nuclear bomb in 1974 still it asks US to provide the te hnology</p>Recommend

  • Khan
    May 31, 2012 - 5:01PM

    People have lost all hope from the PPP/PML/ANP/MQM governments. We need a change. Anyone is better then these guys. Please wake up people. Vote for change Vote for PTI.


  • Zamir Malik
    May 31, 2012 - 5:56PM

    @antanu: That is the problem of the people like you. When you are a developing nation then you dont need to compare yourself with another developing nation. You need to compare yourself with Europe, America and Russia which are developed nations in this regard. Stop this obsession with india as our level of comparison must not be with India’s stupidity rather either we should learn from developed nations or we just think of worthy enough to pave our own way but india is no way our threshold of comparison at all.


  • Meekal Ahmed
    May 31, 2012 - 10:55PM

    @Zamir Malik:

    It is NOT TIT-bits, Sir, but TID-BITS.

    TIT is a slang for something else.


  • Jun 1, 2012 - 7:39AM

    Nuclear Energy’s safety is an important aspect, PNRA can be checked for the safety standards being maintained at our Nuc. energy plants; but we do need it. Dams should be an important area of our attention, for which we need to initiate a national movement for opening up industrial zones in areas for people who are normally displaced due to dams. I am working on a case study of Neelum Jehlum and Bhasha Diamer in consutruction in the backdrop of Kalabagh’s abrogation. Hydel Energy need to be seriously pursued and demands tactful handling after addressing the imminent bottlenecks.


  • Baaghi
    Jun 1, 2012 - 6:02PM

    To all those who are whining about Pakistan not being able to build nuclear power plant on its own… well making a bomb involves completely different techniques and processes whereas making electricity is a completely different task.. Also, we don’t have enough money and resources to build nuclear power plants indigenous-ly.

    Also Mr. Zamir Malik, comparing ourselves with India is nothing bad… FYI we are much less-developed than India… and India has gone through the development phase that we are currently stuck in.. Just because they are our hostile neighbors does not mean that we should not compare ourselves to them.

    I seriously hope that our governments can develop an effective energy policy to counter the growing energy needs in our country. This shortfall of energy is seriously hampering our industrial and economic growth. I am optimistic about the future of this country!


  • Cautious
    Jun 1, 2012 - 6:27PM

    You don’t even have the funds to properly decommission your existing power plants and planning on building a new nuke power plant in Karachi is an accident waiting to happen – no one these days would seriously consider building power plant in close proximity to a large population center.


  • bingo
    Jun 1, 2012 - 7:54PM

    @Zamir Malik:
    Well said. Its pathetic how Pakistani media keeps comparing Pakistan to India.


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