Pakistan aspires to international role

26 September 2014

Pakistan would like to be a full member of export control regimes and to play a part in the international nuclear industry, according to the country's statement to the International Atomic Energy Agency's (IAEA) 58th General Conference.

Ansar Parvez, chairman of the Pakistan Atomic Energy Commission, pointed to the country's small but well-established nuclear power sector, which currently boasts three operating reactors: Karachi 1 (KANUPP) which started up in 1972, and two units at Chashma which have been operating since 2000 and 2011, respectively. Two further units are under construction at Chashma under a long-term cooperation agreement with China, and last year ground was broken for the first of two Chinese-designed ACP1000 units at Karachi. At that time Pakistan's prime minister announced a long-term program envisioning 40,000 MWe of nuclear capacity by 2050.

In addition to its nuclear generating capacity, safeguarding, safety and international cooperation credentials, Parvez commented on the country's medical radioisotope production operations. Molybdenum-99, the precursor for the technetium-99m used in medical imaging, is already made at the Pakistan Institute of Nuclear Science & Technology (PINSTECH), but Parvez said the country is looking to establish another Mo-99 facility based on low-enriched uranium.

Due to its nuclear weapons program and its status outside the Nuclear Non-proliferation Treaty, Pakistan has been largely excluded from trade in nuclear plant or materials with other countries. China, notably, has forged strong nuclear energy links with Pakistan, and the country is a major recipient of technical cooperation from the IAEA as well as being a member of the IAEA Board of Governors.

Summing up, Parvez appeared to underline the country's desire to become more fully involved in the international nuclear market. "Pakistan has the experience, the credentials and the potential to become a recipient and supplier of nuclear technology for peaceful purposes. Pakistan aspires to play its part at international level as a mainstream partner, including as full member of export control regimes, particularly the Nuclear Suppliers Group", he said.

Researched and written
by World Nuclear News