Pakistan's third nuclear power reactor began commercial operation today. The Chashma Nuclear Power Plant unit 2, also known as CHASNUPP-2, is a 300 MWe pressurized water reactor located near Chashma Barrage on the left bank of the River Indus.
In a ceremony attended by several Pakistani government and military chiefs, prime minister Syed Yusuf Raza Gilani inaugurated the plant and spoke proudly of the joint efforts of the Pakistani and Chinese teams which delivered the project, apparently three months ahead of schedule. Construction on the unit began late in 2005 and it was grid connected on 14 March this year.
The prime minister noted how electricity from the plant would help alleviate the energy shortfall the region currently suffers. "We are duty bound to make every effort to overcome the prevailing crisis by exploiting all the available sources and avenues of power generation in the shortest possible time," Gilani said. He also mentioned that additional safety lessons would be learned as a result the nuclear accident in Japan and appropriate measures adopted.
Pakistan remains outside of the Nuclear non-Proliferation Treaty and therefore it is restricted in terms of nuclear trade, with Chashma unit 2 completed under a special safeguards agreement signed with the IAEA in 2006.
The country currently has a small nuclear fleet consisting of three reactors with a net capacity of 725 MWe. However, it has plans to expand on this with at least two more reactors planned for the same site, and a total nuclear capacity of 8800 MWe by 2030. This is part of a much more ambitious program that would see an increase in generation from all sources from 20 GWe in 2006 to over 160 GWe by 2030.
Researched and written
by World Nuclear News