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

Published: June 7, 2013
Pakistan has two nuclear power plants – Chashma 1 and 2 – each with a capacity of 320MW and built with Chinese assistance. PHOTO: FILE

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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Reader Comments (25)

  • shahzad
    Jun 7, 2013 - 1:38AM

    Nuclear plant 9.5billion/1100 = 0.0086billion per MW Bhsha dam15/4500=0.0033 billion per MW. Kala bagh dam will be even less cotly than this.


  • Khurram kaleem
    Jun 7, 2013 - 1:44AM

    Hydro power are not reliable . Nuclear power are most economical and reliable


  • Salman
    Jun 7, 2013 - 1:45AM

    These heavy nuclear plants shouldn’t be built in densely populated city like Karachi. God forbade, if some thing goes accidental, it will end up mega catastrophic for Karachi.


  • Zain
    Jun 7, 2013 - 1:58AM

    @shahzad: Hydel power is not constant, it depends on availability of water & to produce power, water is released from the reservoir over a spillway. Nuclear power is constant, cheap, reliable and works extremely efficiently.


  • Observer
    Jun 7, 2013 - 2:25AM

    Yes it will be costly than Basha but atleast it will be cheaper than thermal. Another thing is that we have uranium in Baluchistan which can be used and then it would be much cheaper than oil powered stations.


  • Joy
    Jun 7, 2013 - 2:28AM

    Chinese nuclear power plants are most unsafe on planet


  • Dr. Asad Sadick, Germany
    Jun 7, 2013 - 2:28AM

    Please lay off nuclear resources for energy production purposes. Mark my words, in a country like Pakistan even a mildest of nuclear accident will have horrendous devastating effects, that will not be controllable. We dont have the expertise and facilities to tackle nuclear accidents. Please take examples of Chernobyl and recently of Japan. If such technological advanced countries have had difficulties, then one can imagine what would happen here.
    Moreover we have other cheaper and safer resources available in the country like coal, gas (new wells have recently been discovered ca. 220 km north of Karachi), hydropower, solar and oil.


  • NP
    Jun 7, 2013 - 2:34AM

    After Fukishima is it sane to build an 1100 MW nuclear power plant, on the coast and near a city of 20 million people?


  • Majid
    Jun 7, 2013 - 3:17AM

    This is a nice decision to use nuclear power to generate electricity. Nuclear energy is currently one of most viable solutions to energy crisis in Pakistan.


  • PakArmySoldier
    Jun 7, 2013 - 3:37AM

    Please, make sure the plant is not built on or even close to an earthquake fault line.


  • Pak
    Jun 7, 2013 - 3:47AM

    Pakistan is on a fault line.


  • Freakonomist
    Jun 7, 2013 - 3:49AM

    PLease invest 1 billion on various projects along the length of Indus river and you will get more than 5000 MW, believe me! Please please dont invest on this project. Chinese nuclear technology is the worst among others.


  • Umair
    Jun 7, 2013 - 5:04AM

    Was there no govt for the past 5 years? So many sudden/new decisions/plans/projects kicking off! EXCITED!

    @All of the above

    I am sure the government, agencies (local and foreign), and NGOs will take a look at all the risks mentioned above.


  • abs
    Jun 7, 2013 - 6:53AM

    Within two days of taking oath, the Prime Minister has announced almost 20 billion dollars worth of projects where Chinese will be investing most of the money ? sounds like dream selling. How much has China invested in Pakistan during last 20 years ? Reality will be known very soon.


  • Randomstranger
    Jun 7, 2013 - 8:16AM


    Not only Pakistan on faultline, but Karachi can even experience a Tsunami. Germany is going to abandon nuclear electricity within 20 years considering how dangerous it is. I bet our semi-literate policy makers do not even know what radiation is…


  • Voice
    Jun 7, 2013 - 9:16AM

    Sind has been declared one of ideal place for wind power, many of european countries like Scandanavian rely on wind power.

    Those who talk about availability of water, Pakistani glaciers are largest after Antarctica….it depends how leadership is sincere to resolved issues over Kala Bagh, Diamer and other potential dams…..In fact, Nuclear power is efficient, but it will take years and years to complete the project. Its a same case for India, by the time US-India civil nuclear project completes, India’s energy demand would have gone to double. India itself is look for other options and energy supplies from middle east and central asia….
    Possibly security/ strategic institutions push for nuclear deal to develop a psychological balance of power against US-India civil nuclear deal.


  • JO
    Jun 7, 2013 - 10:43AM

    What’s this sentiment about Chinese nuclear powerplants? You guys are building a Pakastani nuclear powerplant, with help from the Chinese regarding manufacturing. If it works great, its because you guys designed it well and operated it safely. If it works poorly, its your fault for poor design and poor operation. If Pakistan was able to safely develop nuclear weapons, it has the capability to safely run a nuclear reactor.


  • Jun 7, 2013 - 11:29AM

    The sooner the better. Salams


  • khan
    Jun 7, 2013 - 11:58AM

    @Khurram kaleem:
    very true but 7200 mw bunji will cost 7 billion and produce a max output in summer..even its minimum production will be more than the nuclear plant of 1000mw
    but i think the cost put here is wrong 1000mw plant should not cost more than 3-4 billlion dollars
    may be they are taking of the complex compromising of 2-3 plants


  • shahzad
    Jun 7, 2013 - 1:22PM

    What is going on ?? a project is started with 15-20 billions initial allocation and then full stop ….. an other project started with same money and then full stop. Nothing gets completed in the end and problem remains same.

    What happened to neela-jehlum project we spent 100s of billion on it and it is already more than 5 years. we shd focus one by one on each project and take it to grid.


  • Unbelievable
    Jun 7, 2013 - 6:44PM

    Wasn’t that long ago we read a similar report where you were going to build multiple large coal fired power plants in Karachi – why is this report anymore credible? You should look at your own history of nuclear power since your existing nuclear power plants have a terrible record being “off line” much of the time. The bottom line is that you don’t have the expertise to operate or build these plants and have no credible plan on how to dispose of the nuclear waste let alone fund the massive amt required to decommission a nuclear power plant.


  • Jun 9, 2013 - 6:24PM

    An alternative to conventional nuclear is a radically different technology called Molten Salt Reactors – these have few of the downsides of existing Nuclear (safe, can’t melt down, produce a fraction of the waste, cost orders of magnitude less) and have the potential to produce energy cheaper than coal. It is a disruptive game changing technology.

    There’s a great video, “Thorium Remix 2011” on Youtube which explains it in great detail.

    China is developing one at their National Academy of Sciences. The project is so important to them it’s being headed up Jiang Mianheng, son of former leader Jiang Zemin. A prototype is planned before 2020.

    Renewables are an important part of the solution to our energy needs, but they will struggle to compete with the cost of coal and gas plants. MSR tech can, and that’s why it’s so important. I’m sure we’d all benefit from reduced energy bills.

    The tech was actually developed by the US back in the 60s and a prototype run for 5 years at Oak Ridge National Labs – it’s tragic it wasn’t pursued further.

    Countries like Pakistan could benefit hugely from a technology like this.


  • adil yousuf
    Jun 10, 2013 - 12:20AM

    Actually it is for all three nuclear power plant 9.5Billoin, by mistake it is given here 9.5 billion dollors for only 1100MW, they should correct it


  • Richard Hayes
    Jun 10, 2013 - 5:57AM

    @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.


  • Atique Mirza
    Jun 13, 2013 - 3:21PM

    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.


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