Pakistan to start work on Chinese-aided nuclear power plant

The Pakistan Atomic Energy Commission has received the green light to start work on a second nuclear power plant in Karachi with Chinese assistance, according to an authoritative official speaking on condition of anonymity.

The official said that the federal budget revealed Wednesday has allocated $60 million for acquisition of land for the second Karachi Nuclear Power Plant, known as KANUPP-2, in the vicinity of the existing Karachi Nuclear Power Plant, known as KANUPP-1.

KANUPP-1, with an installed capacity of 137 megawatts, went into operation in 1970 and is currently operating at less than half its capacity.

While reports have been cropping up in the international media about KANUPP-2, which is expected to cost $9.6 billion and produce around 1,000 MW, it is the first time that government documents and officials have revealed Chinese involvement in the project.

China helped Pakistan in the construction of two 300 MW nuclear power plants at Chashma in Punjab province.

Although the Vienna-based Nuclear Supplier Group has opposed the supply of nuclear power plants to Pakistan by its member China, the latter has maintained that its agreement with Pakistan for cooperation in civil nuclear technology was signed in the 1980s before China joined the NSG.

The Pakistan Atomic Energy Commission has chalked out a plan to install 8,000 MW of nuclear energy by 2025 from the present capacity of approximately 700 MW supplied by the plants in Karachi and Chashma.