KARACHI: Chairman of the Pakistan Atomic Energy Commission (PAEC) Dr Ansar Parvez said on Tuesday the ground breaking of two large size power plants OF of 1,100 MW each was the beginning of a new era of nuclear power history in the country.
He was presenting a welcome address at the ground-breaking of K-2 and K-3 projects here. Prime Minister Muhammad Nawaz Sharif had performed the ground breaking.
Sindh Governor Dr Ishrat-ul-Ebad Khan, Chief Minister Syed Qaim Ali Shah, Federal Minister for Water and Power Khawaja Muhammad Asif, Federal Minister for Planning and Development Prof Ahsan Iqbal, Ambassador of China to Pakistan Sun Wei Dong, and President of China National Nuclear Corporation Qian Zhimin, were also present on the occasion.
The PAEC chief viewed that the history of development of nuclear power in Pakistan was not limited to acquisition of relevant technology and know-how by the PAEC, or to the safe and economical production of electrical energy by its nuclear power plants.
It, in fact, was a story of vision, resolve and foresight demonstrated by the nation as a whole and the PAEC as an organisation to defend the nuclear power programme of the country against the political pressures and the restrictions imposed on the country, he added.
Dr Ansar said Pakistan was only the 15th country of the world to have commissioned a nuclear power plant-KANUPP.
“The resolve has been demonstrated as KANUPP completed its designed life of 30 years in 2002 and is still operating safely without vendor support and based on a self-reliance programme in a stiff atmosphere of all the embargoes and restrictions. It is a demonstration of how PAEC stood firm to its cause-as it still does. And no doubt, we have been helped along the way by a persistent strong support by the people and the government of Pakistan.”
He recalled that Chashma C-I contract was signed in Islamabad during the first tenure of Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif and that the events, which took place in early 90’s, paved the way for the next three medium size nuclear plants that were to follow in partnership with China, a great friend and a great country.
The PAEC chief pointed out that the country now had two 325 MW plants at Chashma, C-1 and C-2, the best performing plants operating at high capacity actors, providing electricity at low cost, and paying back all the loans within that low price.
He said two more plants C-3 and C-4, 340 MW each, under construction at the same site, were within cost and ahead of schedule by months.
Dr Ansar pointed out that today’s groundbreaking of 2×1100 MW large size power plants was the beginning of a new era in the nuclear power history of the country. These large size third generation power plants were in fact a game changer as “we graduate from know-how, and confidence building and from small and medium size plants’ phase to implementing plans that would make real significant contribution to the grid.”
He said the K-2/K-3 was going to be a high technology project involving huge financial commitments, high level workmanship and highly trained manpower.
The PAEC chief was of the view that the K-2/K-3 was the beginning of the second phase of journey that would lead nuclear power to becoming a strong component of the overall energy scenario of Pakistan. The PAEC had already been tasked to install 8,800 MW of nuclear power capacity by the year 2030.
“We are confident that we will Insha-Allah meet this target, and will go even beyond this to fulfill the vision 2050 approved by National Command Authority (NCA) to install more than 40,000 MW nuclear power capacity by the year 2050,” he added.
Dr Ansar said the National Command Authority had not only given a vision to the nuclear power in country but its secretariat SPD was also working actively to ensure that the nuclear power plan was implemented.
He pointed out that with NCA vision in sight, the PAEC was actively planning to develop additional sites for nuclear power plants. Six sites had already been identified in the country, three in Punjab, and one each in other provinces.
He said, “We owe an immense debt of gratitude to Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif for his strong commitment to economic reforms.”
“We are very hopeful that K-2/K-3, and the nuclear power plants which will follow, will contribute to the beginning of the new era of sustained growth and development which is the dream of all of us,” the PAEC chief added.
He also thanked China calling as “our unwavering, sincere and invaluable partner in the pursuit of development of nuclear power.”