Govt to kick off work on 1,100MW nuclear power plant

Project costing $9.5b will be built with Chinese assistance.

Zafar Bhutta June 06, 2013
Pakistan has two nuclear power plants – Chashma 1 and 2 – each with a capacity of 320MW and built with Chinese assistance. PHOTO: FILE


The government has decided to go ahead with work on a 1,100-megawatt nuclear power plant in Karachi with Chinese assistance from the next financial year in an effort to ease energy shortages in the country.

According to sources, the Pakistan Atomic Energy Commission (PAEC) will build the power plant named Karachi Coastal Power and costing an estimated $9.5 billion.

At present, Pakistan has two nuclear power plants – Chashma 1 and 2 – each with a capacity of 320MW and built with Chinese assistance. Work on Chashma 3 and 4 power plants is also under way.

Officials say of the total cost of Rs950 billion ($9.5 billion) for Karachi Coastal Power, the government is likely to allocate Rs7.5 billion in the budget for the next financial year, beginning July. Apart from this, it is planning to secure Rs65 billion in foreign lending to give a push to the project.

The government is also in contact with China to purchase two nuclear power plants with a combined capacity of 2,000MW, which will be utilised for setting up Karachi Nuclear Power Plant-2 (Kanupp-2) and Kanupp-3 to tackle the energy crisis.

In case of Kanupp-2 and 3, the Planning Commission had said Chinese company – China National Nuclear Corporation (CNNC) – may be asked to grant intellectual property rights and suggest steps that could help Pakistan avoid violation of property rights.

“In case of 1,100MW Karachi Coastal Power, Pakistan will also require intellectual property rights,” an official said.

China has three state-owned corporations that can own and operate nuclear power plants including CNNC, China Guangdong Nuclear Power Holding Company (CGNPC) and China Power Investment Corporation (CPIC).

CGNPC operates four nuclear power plants of 3,758MW in China and is also associated with 16 other under-construction projects having capacity of 25,000MW. The company’s main focus has been on three-loop 1,000MW plants.

In an attempt to increase power generation, Pakistan is turning attention to producing nuclear energy on a relatively bigger scale. According to the Energy Security Action Plan, the share of nuclear power will be increased in electricity production by installing 8,800MW nuclear power plants by 2030.

Nuclear plants will provide electricity at cheaper rates compared to power produced from thermal sources. At present, the country is experiencing a widening gap between power supply and demand, leading to extensive outages that disrupt life and business and shaves three percentage points off economic growth annually.

Published in The Express Tribune, June 7th, 2013.

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Atique Mirza | 10 years ago | Reply

Guys, It is not just matter of Chinese versus US Nuclear Plants. Please research this topic and educate yourself. The Kanupp 1 Nuclear power plant has been operating near Karachi ( Hawks Bay / Paradise Point) producing 135 MW since 1960's and never had any serious accident. This Nuclear plant was of Canadian design and belonged to First Generation Nuclear Plants. The Chashma 1, Chashma 2 and now Chashma 3 and 4 are Second Generation Nuclear Plants ( from China).

The Kanupp 2 and Kanupp 3 Nuclear Plants ( 1000 MW ) belong to Third Generation Nuclear Plants. The Third Generation Power Plants are way much safer than Second Generation Power Plants regardless of which country they come from. China purchased this 3rd Generation 1000 MW design from Westinghouse Corporation ( US Company), so it is all Western Technology that China is selling. so stop this RIF RAF about US versus China Technology because it just shows your ignorance on the subject.

Currently, 9 GIF countries are working together to produce 4th Generation of Nuclear Plants which will be available by 2030.

Richard Hayes | 10 years ago | Reply

@Khurram kaleem:

Nuclear is surprisingly unreliable, apart from being very expensive. Even the best plants in the world are struggling to get 80% utilisation rates. Globally it is closer to 70% rather than 80%.

If Pakistan really wanted electricity for industry and for homes, it would not be looking at Nuclear plants but at distributed solar. Nuclear power is very old technology, one of it's few redeeming features is the option to steal several hundred of millions of dollars in bribes and kickbacks. This is one of the primary reason South Africa is looking at nuclear.

Centralised power is silly. It is a very 20th Century technology, if you wants both more electricity available to industry and a more reliable grid, local production and local consumption works much better. But if the goal is to get bribes and kickbacks, nuclear is excellent.

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