The federal government, in a meeting of the top economic decision making body, has approved four energy sector projects with a combined electricity generation capacity of 3,511 megawatts (MW). The projects which have been given the go-ahead include two nuclear power plants that are to be built in Karachi with Chinese assistance. These plants will help move energy consumption away from expensive imported fossil fuels, officials said.
The decision to okay these projects was taken by the Executive Committee of the National Economic Council (Ecnec), which is headed by Finance Minister Ishaq Dar. The total cost of these projects will come to around Rs1.31 trillion. They include the Karachi Coastal Nuclear Power Plant-I (K-I) of 1,100MW generation capacity, and K-II of 1,100MW generation capacity. The total cost of these two projects is Rs958.8 billion and they will be completed over a period of seven years. Nonetheless, Dar directed the concerned agencies to try and complete the projects in less than five years.
The minister said that previous practices had been such that an anticipatory approval was given to projects by the finance minister at his discretion, and said this is a practice that he would like to dispense with. He said he wanted every project to be discussed in Ecnec before it is approved, reads an official handout issued by the finance ministry.
He said that the finances for all approved projects should be arranged in time and that projects should be monitored regularly so that they do not fall into neglect or are delayed for want of resources.
The country’s energy mix has reversed in the last 15 years, wherein a reliance on fossil fuels has increased to 75% from the earlier 25% .
While discussing the Neelum-Jhelum Hydro Electric Project, which has been approved at a revised cost of Rs274.9 billion against the previous cost of Rs84 billion, the meeting decided that an investigation into the causes behind the huge cost overruns and delays in the project should be made and submitted so that responsibility can be fixed.
Certain key officials in the Water and Power Development Authority and some high-ranking political personalities have been blamed in the past for this cost overrun.
Ecnec also directed the Ministry of Water and Power to complete laying electricity transmission lines for the power plant in tandem with the project.
Ecnec also approved the Nandipur combined cycle power plant (CCPP), which has a 425-525MW capacity and will now be completed at a cost of Rs57.4 billion. The original price of the project was Rs22 billion, which has increased manifold due to the dillydallying of previous government functionaries, allegedly on hopes of seeking kickbacks from contractors.
Science and technology
Ecnec has also approved Pakistan Remote Sensing Satellite (PRSS) project, which will be located in Sindh and Punjab, with a cost of Rs19.7 billion. The PRSS project is part of the National Satellite Development Programme for space technology, and its applications will be in the institutional capacity building of the Pakistan Space and Upper Atmosphere Research Commission and other relevant organisations. PRSS will carry an optical payload which will transmit high-resolution images of the earth with stereo capabilities.
Ecnec has approved the addition of the 3rd, 4th and 5th lanes to the Kashmir Highway from Peshawar More to GT Road, including the construction of a new bridge for additional carriageway, in Islamabad. The revised project envisages rehabilitation and improvement of the two existing lanes and addition of one more flexible pavement as the 3rd lane and the addition of two rigid pavements as the 4th and 5th lanes on the northern and southern carriageway of the Kashmir Highway between Peshawar More and the GT Road. The revised PC-I cost for the project is Rs4.7 billion, against the original cost of Rs2.2 billion.
Published in The Express Tribune, July 5th, 2013.
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very essential for us to build such nuclear plants as we are not acquiring it for any hegemonic designs or security reasons its just to end our energy crisis. Liking it with fukushima is a wrong assumptions and to give it a political tilt. Even after Fukushima if countries can continue to built nuclear plants then there must be no issue with this civil nuclear technology.
No new nuclear power plant has been built in the US in over 40 years. There is very strong opposition from the public. In fact, many plants have been closed over the years, the latest being the San Onofre plant in California. Germany has decided to phase out nuclear power plants all together.
@unbelievable No its wrong perception that developed countries are moving away from having nuclear energy. Only Japan closed its few nuclear plants because of safety issues. In America and UK advancement has been carried out in nuclear technology. They are now working on fusion reactors. Chinese nuclear companies is doing investment in UK for installing plants. Oil enriched countries UAE and Saudi Arabia will soon have their nuclear plants. So its all about current activities in the field of nuclear going on around the globe.
@UMSyed: "If every other nation can use nuclear power as a cheaper source, why can’t Pakistan"
When it comes to nuclear reactors, things can be fine for decades until one fine day. What do you think happened in Japan? Most develped countries are going away from this source of energy. In US there has been a moratorium for the last 25 years on nuclear plants. In Jaitapur, Maharashtra there are huge protests where the locals do not want the nuclear plant to be built. But even if you decide to build it, it appears extremely risky to do so in Karachi. Anyway, it is upto people of Pakistan to decide. If people in Karachi are unmindful of the risks, that's fine.
@unbelievable: "One day your going to build multiple coal fired plants in Karachi – the next day your going to built multiple nuclear power plants. The one thing consistent with Pakistani energy policy – lots of talk, lots of articles, and never/ever a power plant."
Not to mention the unending discussion and chest thumping on IP pipeline that we have seen for the last 5 years without even the contract for construcion being awarded.
@Mobeen Tariq: "Important milestone in combating the Nuclear Crisis."
Eh? What nuclear crisis? Makig stuff up are we?
oiii hwiiii 3511 MW...........Nuclear power plants near Karachi are very essential to add up electricity to KESKO and Karachi is the hub of economic activity. If Pakistan focuses on nuclear energy it can get out of this energy shortfall at least the nuclear energy which is relatively cheap will ensure stable nationwide electricity supply. People in the streets, facing load shedding feel that nuclear energy is not subject to unreliable weather or climate conditions, unpredictable cost fluctuations, or dependence on oil suppliers. NAWAZ Sharif made us proud in 1998, he make us proud by nuclear power plants as well the state will have reliable energy sources, cheap electric energy with price stability.
@Fahad. If your comments are correct then ask yourselves why other countries which have more money and technical expertise are moving away from nuclear energy? The reality is that nuclear energy is only cheap when you don't factor in decommissioning, fuel storage/disposal, and security. It's clear to most of the World that nuclear energy is dangerous.
One day your going to build multiple coal fired plants in Karachi - the next day your going to built multiple nuclear power plants. The one thing consistent with Pakistani energy policy - lots of talk, lots of articles, and never/ever a power plant.
Greatest advantage of nuclear energy is that the fuel is cheap and not being used by any other sector, no chances of theft as well. Disadvantage of natural gas is that its used and wasted extensively while that of hydel is that it depends on sun for the snow to melt. During winters there is extreme shortage of water in dams and natural gas for industry. As far as karachi is concerned, many expensive IPPs are situated there and the recovery of bills from that region is very small as compared to cost so nuclear energy will help cover the deficit. Population 200-300 kms away from karachi towards west is very less and large amount of water is also available for cooling purposes as well. I feel more plants shud be installed in southern punjab along river indus.
Nuclear power is cheapest one. Fuel used in reactor is recycled and can be used again with some enrichment. Initially its big investment but can be recovered because of less fuel cost. Location has been chosen near Karachi for K-II which is safest one after carrying out all seismic test. So its high time to support the decision of building up these plants.
@Hitler: its roughly ten bilion dollars..we hav 25 BILLION DOLLARS in taxes out of which 15 goes to the provinces and the rest of ten goes to the federal...
@Pakistani: And u think these projects would evn be completed.nuclear is a good option as the fuel is easily available and its not really a pollutant
Soon India, China and Afghanistan will be buying electricty from Pakistan ++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++ Only problem will be the prices!
Its a start but still appears to be a stop gap measure.
Where is the complete energy policy for the next 10 or 20 years and what is the mix they want to use? What about renewables? What is the long term vision? Too many details remain.
Super Dar to the rescue!
How about other renewable resources such as solar and wind?
For the information of all opponents of a nuclear power plant near Karachi. There is already a nuclear power plant, KANUPP, operating at Hawkbay, Karachi. The plant has been in operation since 1972. Safety standards & practices have improved a lot now when we are talking about another plant in 2013. If every other nation can use nuclear power as a cheaper source, why can't Pakistan?
Such steps will lead Pakistan toward progress, govt should also have Coal plants on large scale so that the short fall may decrease.
Great decision by policy makers. It was the need of time to invest in power sector to deal with energy crisis. Nuclear power plants are most important for the economic and defense sector because Pakistan is suffering from energy short fall and other side state’s defense is most important to counter the threats. This decision will definitely help to deal both problems.
Pakistan is proud to play its part to promote the nuclear power for the well being of the human beings with this mega project.
Since Independence Pakistan is repeatedly suffering from energy crisis and thats contributing to country's economic slowdown, to build up nuclear power plants is the only way to counter the enery crisis. It is a reliable source and can be used for longer time. These nuclear power plants would be build under severe safety and secuirty measures and upgradation will also be done once they would be planted...
It is a right of every state to enjoy with the benefits of nuclear technology not freezing the status quo of certain states.
There is an absolute dependency of the world on certain traditional energy reserves. trends are ben develpoing to go for alternatives options of energy. NPP is the fascinating and durable idea to gather energy for civilian purposes. This is an wise decision taken by Pakistani Governement to build this mega project.
its good they will be build in karachi, chinese nuclear plant shoud be as far as possible from india
Fukushima was manmade and could have been avoided. Read the latest reports. Even after Fukushima new nuclear power plants are being bult all over the world. Its a great news for Pakistan and is need of the hour!!!
Must say that this is an appreciatable job been done by the Pakistani governemnt. NPP is the growing phenomenon to meet the energy challenges world wide and Pakistan should not be exception to this.
What about the power plants already build that aren't running due to the circular debt? I hope we just don't end up with either adding more to the list or a yet another uncompleted project resulting in wasted funds.
It has been a very good Step. Important milestone in combating the Nuclear Crisis.
For every comment abvoe
Karachi already has a 125 MW Nuclear Power Plant.
what good will space research do to this country? instead build world class hospitals and schools with this money
A nuclear power plant close to city of 20 million people would be madness especially as Karachi is close to earthquake faults. I hope before tthe plant is built detail study of risks will be carried out
@Qasim... Please use spell check...
I think they are moving in right direction, if these projects are executed well, they will reduce the current shortfall by more than half, but at the time these will be completed, we will require atleast 10K MW more electricity in system, I hope they will take long term measures rather than just focusing on these 5 years.
After Fukushima, only a mad person will allow such large reactors close to the biggest and most dense metro of the country.. it clearly shows, that our country has formally been accepted as a chinese colony, where the masters in beijing decide, what is more profitable for the chinese and we as subjects, simply abide to their dictation. Shame on all of us.
Could we not have solar power or wind power instead of nuclear power? We have seen the disasters in Japan -- at least their government was able to do something, but no government in this country will be as effective, if, God forbid there is a problem. Please Honourable Prime Minister, please think for the people and long term and not a short term glory.
""He said that the finances for all approved projects should be arranged in time" +++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++ So these ECNEC Approvals are in principle and not backed by any financial committment. Allah!
for long term, why divert funds from Thar coal. Give AAZ another term if he agrees for Kalabagh
Pleae use brain dont allow Nuclear energy. That is outdated and world id going to sell us its outdated tec to us. Try to get use brain. Dont get traped
slowly and steadily noonies are setting the ball rolling, completion of these projects plus immediate releif by virtue of payments of circular debt will be next step, now if they come up with a sound Counter terrorism policy and APPLY it, it will be good for country
Why aren't the figures in dollars? We take loans in dollars, remember?
No to nuclear power plants.
Good PMLN. Even if one does not agreee with some of your policies, any responsible deed for the good of the nation must be appreciated!
I am not against nuclear power per se, but a nuclear power plant in Pakistan's biggest city? Are you kidding me? Does anyone remember Fukushima?
Nuclear power plant near Karachi? Were they living under a rock when fukushima disaster took place? Karachi is also tsunami prone and on a fault line.
i think nuclear plant should not be build due to high risk and health hazards....it put millions of life at risk...remember after earth quake in japan...
Haha, nice to see you've already got one eye on the next elections!