Pakistan breaks ground for coastal units

03 December 2013

A ground-breaking ceremony has been held for the Karachi Coastal Nuclear Power Project in Pakistan, comprising two Chinese-supplied ACP1000 units.

Karachi 2 and 3 groundbreaking 460
Prime Minister Sharif breaks ground for Pakistan's two new coastal units near Karachi (Image: Prime Minister's Office)

The reactors are to be built at the coastal Karachi site near Paradise Point in Sindh province about 25 kilometres west of the capital. China National Nuclear Corporation (CNNC) has been contracted to build the plant on a turnkey basis.

The ground-breaking ceremony, held on 26 November, was attended by Pakistani and Chinese officials. Pakistan prime minister Muhammad Nawaz Sharif used a spade to remove the first soil in preparation for construction of the two 1100 MWe units.

Speaking at the ceremony, Sharif said, "The beginning of the 2200 MWe power project is indeed a proud moment in the energy history of Pakistan. This is one of the first steps of our goal of racing towards a 'load-shedding free' Pakistan."  He said that nuclear energy "will form an increasingly significant component" in meeting Pakistan's energy goals and that the Karachi Coastal Nuclear Power Project "should be seen as an important step forward in that direction." However, it "will have to be followed by many other such projects in other parts of the country with vital power needs."

Sharif said that the project is expected to be completed in 72 months, but urged "the engineers working on this project to complete it as soon as possible." He added, "It is required urgently because Pakistan needs power for a strong economy." Under its Nuclear Energy Vision 2050 program, Pakistan envisages having some 40,000 MWe of nuclear generating capacity by 2050.

Pakistan currently has a 40-year-old 125 MWe pressurized heavy water reactor at Karachi and another nuclear power plant at Chashma in northern Punjab province. This has two 300 MWe Chinese-built pressurized water reactors operating with two more under construction.

Pakistan is outside the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty and largely excluded from world trade in nuclear materials and technology due to an absence of full scope safeguards. China, however, has longstanding bilateral arrangements to support Pakistan's development and the country's nuclear power reactors are owned and operated under item-specific international safeguards.

Researched and written
by World Nuclear News