Is Karachi at risk?

Published: January 8, 2014

KARACHI: This is with reference to Syed Muhammad Ali’s article of January 7 “Karachi — let’s bring the lights back”. The writer states: “ … no incident or accident harmful to the environment or the ecology of Karachi has ever been reported by any international watchdog. Karachi’s lone nuclear power plant has been in operation for over four decades now and the new reactors are being set up at the same site, which has not posed any risk to life and environment, with no fatality due to radiation ever reported.”

This is flawed logic. That is like saying I have never been sick in the past so I will not ever get sick in the future. In reality, past performance is no guarantee of anything in the future. An accident could occur tomorrow. In fact, KANUPP experienced a heavy water leak in 2011, which was reported in the media.

One has to be prepared for the risk of accidents at nuclear reactors. The risk here is the proximity to the city of Karachi. Most of Karachi lies within 30 kilometres of KANUPP. After the Chernobyl accident, area within 30 kilometres of the reactor was rendered uninhabitable. How will we replace Karachi if a similar accident happened here?

Arif Belgaumi

Published in The Express Tribune, January 9th, 2014.

Like Opinion & Editorial on Facebook, follow @ETOpEd on Twitter to receive all updates on all our daily pieces.

Facebook Conversations

Reader Comments (10)

  • Sameer
    Jan 9, 2014 - 10:40AM

    but having not fallen sick in past does show a higher level of immunity. doesn’t it?


  • Zartasha
    Jan 9, 2014 - 12:39PM

    Nuclear power plants which have been contributed to Pakistan by China is a third-generation version of pressurized water reactors based on the AP1000 reactor designed by Westinghouse, and that it is equipped with extra safety features to cope with Fukushima and Chernobyl -like accidents. They will start operating in Pakistan after they start working in Chinese domestic site Fuqing, in the Fujian province. Pakistan is running its nuclear program in a safe and secured manner, and also working on enhancing the safety mechanisms. Everything comeup with advantages and disadvantages. it doesnot mean we should stop using things for the sake of disadvantages where ithey are offering advantages. People must show optimism rather pessimism.


  • wiji
    Jan 9, 2014 - 1:08PM

    According to the UN Report, About 1.3 billion people in the world are living without electricity; two-thirds of them being in 10 countries and four of them, including Pakistan, in the Asia Pacific region. But still we oppose government’s initiatives to curb energy crisis. Energy is now the talk of town in Pakistan. Karachi the biggest city experiencing up to 12 hours load shedding. Yet we are pointing fingers towards nuclear installations in Karachi without having proper knowledge. PEOPLE IN Pakistan are suffering from energy crisis. As per a recent report released by the Asian Development Bank (ADB), Pakistan’s economy faced a major hurdle in the shape of its domestic energy crisis. The report further adds that power-cuts are the main constraints in economic growth of the country. Unfortunately, certain faction in Pakistan still wants Pakistan to remain energy deficient hence raised their illogical concerns on Karachi nuclear project.


  • Natalia
    Jan 9, 2014 - 1:42PM

    Absolutely agreed regarding the precautionary measures. But have we ever stopped the natural calamities even if we are aware of it. There is a complete disaster management structure which is developed in every country. The world still continued with nuclear despite of Fukushima and Chernobyl accidents. Rather we are on our toes to work on comprehensive safety and security mechanisms. Hopes should be optimistic that these power plants would overcome the energy crisis and remain productive always. Developing in Karachi is due to its extensive energy needs nothing else. This aspect of disaster management certainly is highlighted from the start of the project. Everyone is well aware of its responsibility to work for safety parameters.


  • Sadia
    Jan 9, 2014 - 7:17PM

    Technological developments in nuclear power generation and fission research have lessened the number of problems in reactor constructions, operations and simultaneously increased efficiency. Moreover these technological advancements have also provided a better way to meet the increasing energy needs in a cost competitive manner. As a result, it has become an attractive source of energy and hence future energy demands are expected to be dealt with by the use of nuclear power.
    But sorry ET,,, your huge numbers of nuclear experts think contrary.


  • Toby
    Jan 9, 2014 - 7:18PM

    Nuclear power is free of pollution and has no environmental effects such greenhouse gases or acid rain, it is cost competitive and safe but most importantly it can provide a continuous electric supply throughout a year. This continuous supply can be achieved because nuclear plants are independent of seasonal effects. The latest nuclear plants China is providing are smaller in size and more efficient. Another advantage of nuclear power plants is that it doesn’t require constant re-fuelling or charging. The plants only need to be charged once a year, as compared to thermal or coal plants which need charging all year around.


  • Kanwal
    Jan 9, 2014 - 7:19PM

    In recent years, China and Pakistan do indeed carry out some joint projects related to civilian use of nuclear energy. These projects are for peaceful purpose only, in compliance with the international obligations shared by both countries, and they are subject to guarantee and monitor by international atomic energy organization. These all fears are baseless that Pakistan nuclear experts are stupid and endangering their population into a nuclear catastrophe.


  • Sidra
    Jan 9, 2014 - 8:01PM

    In the current energy scenario, nuclear power can play a vital role. Nuclear power is a safe, clean and reliable source of electricity. Nuclear power has a key significance in providing base-load electricity and minimizing imports of oil, gas and coal. It is essential to continue the development of nuclear power, even at a modest pace, in order to develop local capabilities and to meet Pakistan‘s future electricity needs.


  • Rabia
    Jan 10, 2014 - 11:36AM

    It seems like you have intuitions of bad things for your future and for that reason you are not going to do anything good. At all for no reason is it possible that our government would indulge us into any nuclear disaster especially Karachi which is also our economic hub. You can mold anything into any directions but one thing we must understand that we have been dumped into stone ages and whatever government is doing is to let us out and live in 21st century.


  • Sumroo
    Jan 10, 2014 - 5:03PM

    Arif has provided a flawed logic, like don’t take risk stay in the slum you are living so yes Karachi is not at risk. The historic incidents that people are bringing up like Fukushima or Chernobyl accident and attaching them to Karachi is baseless. Karachi has no previous record of environmental or ecological accidents reported and yes this nuclear power plant will also be safe.


More in Letters