Sep 17 - 23, 20

China-rightly described as tested and tried real friend of Pakistan-has again extended a helping hand to help the country in its efforts to overcome its energy crises which has really shattered its economy Amongst measures to help the country in this regard, China has offered to set up another Nuclear power plant of a bigger capacity than the earlier three plants-one at Karachi of 200MWs and two at Chashma of about 300MWs each.

Arrangements for setting up of another nuclear power plant of 1000 MWs at Karachi with Chinese help and technical assistance are almost in final stages .

According to the sources in the Ministry of Water and Power, the required funds of Rs 465 million for the joint pre-project feasibility study and design study has already been released by the finance ministry for this "one of the biggest nuclear power plants in the country". The new plant for producing electricity at the cheapest cost is likely to be constructed at Hawks Bay, Karachi adjacent to an existing plant for which land has already acquires.

Under the Energy Security Plan 2005-2030 Pakistan plans to generate about 9000MWs from nuclear source. Currently nuclear power accounts for only 700 MWs of Pakistan 18000MWs power generation capacity of which about 12000 is from thermal and rest is from hydro-power plants. Pakistan currently has three nuclear power plants - One at Karachi and the oldest is now producing only 137 MWs against its installed capacity of 300 MWs and two at Chashma of 300 MWs capacity each all were installed with Chinese help. Chashma one was installed in 2000while Chashma 2 started production in early 2011....

Apart from this nuclear plant at Karachi , China is generously helping us in many ways to overcome the energy crises which has badly damaged the economy of the country. Last year the two countries established a joint Energy Working Group which now coordinates implementation of all energy projects of Pakistan including hydro, thermal, coal -fired, alternate and civil nuclear energy. Thus China has been helping Pakistan in a big way to rid the country of the energy shortage. The two countries have established Pakistan - China forum as Pakistani businesses are looking increasingly towards China.

Sources in the ministry are of the view that as Pakistan needed alternative energy sources to meet escalating demand and supply gap of electric power , so with the completion of new 1000MWs nuclear plant at Karachi, electric power consumers would get relief in the form of continuous power supply as well as relief in the form of lower cost.. The cost per unit of electricity from the nuclear plant will be between Rs three to four against about Rs 20 from a plant run on the furnace oil.

In November 2006 , the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) approved an agreement with the Pakistan Atomic Energy Commission for new nuclear power plants to be built in the country with the Chinese assistance . Similarly ,Pakistan and China, both had maintained that the supply of nuclear plants and Chinese cooperation for indigenous manufacture of nuclear power plants in Pakistan were already envisaged in a comprehensive cooperation between the two countries signed in 1986. Later, during talks between Pakistan and China that the first two plans of 1000 MWs each would be installed at Karachi. Efforts are on to set up the one out of these two during the next few months.