Karachi 3 passes acceptance tests

19 April 2022

Unit 3 of the Karachi nuclear power plant in Pakistan passed acceptance tests on 18 April, marking the Chinese-supplied Hualong One reactor's entry into commercial operation, China National Nuclear Corporation (CNNC) announced.

Karachi units 2 and 3 (Image: CNNC)

A ceremony held to mark the end of acceptance tests was attended by representatives of CNNC and the Pakistan Atomic Energy Commission (PAEC), including CNNC President Gu Jun and PAEC Chairman Ali Raza.

"At the meeting, both China and Pakistan expressed that nuclear energy is playing an increasingly important role in promoting Pakistan's economic and social development, improving people's livelihood, and boosting green and low-carbon transformation," CNNC said.

Construction of Karachi 3, the second of two Hualong One units to be built near Paradise Point in the province of Sindh, began in May 2016. Hot functional testing of Karachi 3 - which simulate the temperatures and pressures that the reactor systems will be subjected to during normal operation and are carried out before loading nuclear fuel - was completed ahead of schedule on 4 November last year. It achieved first criticality on 21 February and was connected to the grid on 4 March. The 1100 MWe pressurised water reactor reached 100% capacity for the first time on 31 March.

Various performance and commissioning tests were carried out at power levels of 25%, 30%, 50%, 75% and 87% capacity. Karachi 3 has completed a 100-hour demonstration run, marking its entry into commercial operation.

Karachi 2 entered commercial operation in May last year. The units are the first exports of CNNC's Hualong One, which is also promoted on the international market as HPR1000.

CNNC noted Karachi 2 and 3 will provide Pakistan with nearly 20 billion kWh of clean electricity every year, meeting the annual demand of the local population of 2 million people. The units will reduce the equivalent standard coal consumption by 6.24 million tonnes per year, cutting carbon dioxide emissions by 16.32 million tonnes.

The Karachi site - also sometimes referred to as KANUPP - was home to Pakistan's first nuclear power reactor, Karachi 1 - a small 100 MWe (90 MWe net) Canadian pressurised heavy water reactor which shut down in 2021 after 50 years of operation.

The first domestic demonstration plants of CNNC's Hualong One design are Fuqing 5 and 6, in China's Fujian province. The units entered commercial operation in January 2021 and March this year, respectively.

Nuclear energy currently provides around 8% of Pakistan's energy mix from five reactors: four CNNC-supplied CNP-300 pressurised water reactors at Chashma in Punjab, and Karachi 2. CNNC in 2017 signed a cooperation agreement with the Pakistan Atomic Energy Commission on the construction of a Hualong One as a fifth unit at Chashma.

In February, Nucleoel├ęctrica Argentina and CNNC signed an engineering, procurement and construction contract for the development of the Atucha 3 nuclear power plant. The plant, to be sited near Lima, about 100 kilometres north west of Argentina's capital, Buenos Aires, will use the Hualong One technology.

Researched and written by World Nuclear News