Ground-breaking ceremony held for Pakistan's Chashma 5

14 July 2023

Pakistan Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif has taken part in the ground-breaking ceremony for the 1200 MWe unit 5 of the Chashma nuclear power plant, which is being built by China National Nuclear Corporation (CNNC).

Chashma 5 will be the seventh Chinese reactor in Pakistan (Image: CNNC)

The event follows Pakistan's signing of a USD4.8 billion deal with China last month to build the Hualong One reactor at the plant, which is in Punjab province. That announcement by Sharif, who became prime minister last year, ended a long delay for the project which had originally been planned to start around 2021.

The Chashma site - also referred to as Chasnupp - is already home to four Chinese-supplied CNP-300 pressurised water reactors, which were connected to the grid between 2000 and 2017.

Two 1161 MWe Chinese-supplied Hualong One (HPR1000) reactors have been constructed as units 2 and 3 of the Karachi plant in Sindh province, marking the first exports of CNNC's Hualong One design. Construction of unit 2 began in 2015 and unit 3 in 2016. These entered commercial operation in May 2021 and April 2022, respectively. In total Pakistan currently has six operable reactors, supplied by China.

CNNC described the ground-breaking as a further "milestone" for bilateral relations and said the project "will further enhance Pakistan's energy security, promote economic development, and improve the well-being of the local people. It also has significant importance in building a closer China-Pakistan partnership with a shared future in the new era".

CNNC added that "at the ceremony, China and Pakistan reached a consensus on enhancing collaboration across the entire industry chain and achieving mutual benefit and win-win results".

According to Pakistan's state-run PTV news channel, Sharif praised the support from China for the project and said the aim was to complete the unit within seven or eight years but "keeping in mind the country’s requirements of clean and cheap energy sources" he hoped the project would be completed sooner.

Researched and written by World Nuclear News