Nuclear power in Pakistan: Wikis


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Nuclear power plants in Pakistan
Red pog.svg Active plants

Pakistan is the 7th nuclear weapon state and nuclear power. As of 2009, the nuclear power plants make up to 2.4% share where the electricity made by fossil fuel are 65.2 % and 33.9% of it from the Hydro power. Pakistan is one of 3 Nuclear armed states( Israel and India ) that is not a member of the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty [1] [2] [3].Furthermore Pakistan has two nuclear reactors of 425 MW power to generate electricity. The third nuclear reactor will be operation in the spring of 2010.

In Pakistan, nuclear power makes a small contribution to total energy production and requirements, supplying only 2.34% of the country's electricity. Total generating capacity is 20 GWe and in 2006, 98 billion kWh gross was produced, 37% of it from gas, 29% from oil. The Pakistan Atomic Energy Commission (PAEC) is responsible for all nuclear energy and research applications in the country .


Civilian nuclear program

Its first nuclear power reactor is a small (125 MWe) Canadian pressurized heavy water reactor (PHWR) which started up in 1971 and which is under international safeguards – KANUPP near Karachi, which is operated at reduced power. KANUPP-2 and KANUPP-3 are under construction and are being built by PAEC. The KANUPP-2 (1000 MWe) and KANUPP-3 (1000 Mwe) are a part of Pakistan's civilian nuclear program. The three units of nuclear power plant are under IAEA safeguards. The KANUPP-2 and KANUPP-3 are based on the model of CANDU nuclear reactor.


China's Investment in Civilian nuclear program

The People's Republic of China has been a strong vocal and supporter of Pakistani Nuclear Program. China has provided Pakistan with civil-purpose use nuclear technology since early 1980s. The second unit is Chashma-1 in Punjab, a 325 MWe (300 MWe net) pressurised water reactor (PWR) supplied by China's CNNC under safeguards. The main part of the plant was designed by Shanghai Nuclear Engineering Research and Design Institute (SNERDI), based on Qinshan Nuclear Power Plant. It started up in May 2000 and is also known as CHASNUPP-1. Construction of its twin, Chashma-2, started in December 2005. It is reported to cost PKR 51.46 billion (US$ 860 million, with $350 million of this financed by China). A safeguards agreement with IAEA was signed in 2006 and grid connection is expected in 2011.

IAEA Cooperation

The third nuclear power reactor is Pakistan Nuclear Power Fuel Complex (1000 MWe) pressurized water reactor, constructed indigenously by Pakistan's PAEC, under IAEA safeguards. The main part of the plant is designed on the model of CHASMA Nuclear Power Plant and Candu Reactor. The 90% of work of plant is done and will generate electricity in the early of 2010.

Pakistan Nuclear Power Reactors

Location Status Reactor Type MWe net Construction Start Commercial Operation Planned to Close
Karachi Completed KANUPP PHWR 125 1966 12/1972 2012
Chashma Completed CHASNUPP-1 PWR 300 1993 06/2000
Chashma Under Construction CHASNUPP-2 PWR 300 2005 2012
Chashma Approved CHASNUPP-3 PWR 300 2009  ???
Chashma Approved CHASNUPP-4 PWR 300 2009  ???
Karachi Under Construction KANUPP-2 PHWR 1000 2008 2012 (expected)
Karachi Proposed KANUPP-3 PHWR 1000 2010 (expected)  ???
 ??? Proposed  ??? PWR 1000  ???  ???
 ??? Proposed  ??? PWR 1000  ???  ???
 ??? Proposed  ??? PWR 1000  ???  ???
 ??? Proposed  ??? PWR 1000  ???  ???
 ??? Proposed  ??? PWR 1500  ??? 2030???

China Nuclear International Uranium Corporation's investment

Enriched fuel for the PWRs is imported from China.

In 2005 an Energy Security Plan was adopted by the government, calling for a huge increase in generating capacity to more than 160,000 MWe by 2030. It includes plans for lifting nuclear capacity to 8800 MWe, 900 MWe of this by 2015 and a further 1500 MWe by 2020.

Plans included four further Chinese reactors of 300 MWe each and seven of 1000 MWe, all PWR. There were tentative plans for China to build two 1000 MWe PWR units at Karachi as KANUPP 2 & 3, but China then in 2007 deferred development of its CNP-1000 type which is the only one able to be exported. Pakistan is now exploring the possibility of smaller units with higher local content.

Sino-Pak Civil Nuclear Technology Agreement

In June 2008 the government announced plans to build units 3 and 4 at Chashma, each 320-340 MWe and costing PKR 129 billion, 80 billion of this from international sources, principally China. A further agreement for China's help with the project was signed in October 2008, and given prominence as a counter to the US-India agreement shortly preceding it. Cost quoted then was US$ 1.7 billion, with a foreign loan component of $1.07 billion. Construction was expected to start in 2009. In March 2009 SNERDI announced that it was proceeding with design of Chasma 3 & 4, with China Zhongyuan Engineering as the general contractor. PAEC said Beijing was financing 85% of the US$ 1.6 billion project.

However, there are questions about China's supply of Chasma-3 & 4. Contracts for units 1 & 2 were signed in 1990 and 2000, before 2004 when China joined the Nuclear Suppliers Group, which maintains an embargo on sales of nuclear equipment to Pakistan.

Pakistani-Franco Nuclear Deal 2009

There is certian amount of ambiguity, confusion and mixed interpretatations about the French deal, where the Pakistani officials believe they got civilian nuclear deal. However, as the French officials indicated they got a deal but mainly focusing on 'Safety and Security'. The undisputed outcome was, it was 'significant development' as said by Pakistani foreign minister for the transfer of Civilian Nuclear technology to Pakistan.[4]

Fuel cycle

The government has set a target of producing 350 tonnes U3O8 per year from 2015 to meet one third of anticipated requirements then. Low grade ore is known in central Punjab at Bannu Basin and Suleman Range.

A small (15,000 SWU/yr) uranium centrifuge enrichment plant at Kahuta has been operated by the PAEC since 1984 and does not have any apparent civil use. It was expanded threefold about 1991. A newer plant is reported to be at Gadwal. It is not under safeguards.

In 2006 the PAEC announced that it was preparing to set up separate and purely civil conversion, enrichment and fuel fabrication plants as a new US$ 1.2 billion Pakistan Nuclear Power Fuel Complex which would be under IAEA safeguards and managed separately from existing facilities. At least the enrichment plant would be built at Chak Jhumra, Faisalabad, in the Punjab and have a 150,000 SWU/yr capacity in five years - about 2013, then be expanded in 150,000 SWU increments to be able to supply one third of the enrichment requirements for a planned 8800 MWe generating capacity by 2030.

However, if Pakistan cannot obtain exemption for Nuclear Suppliers' Group trade sanctions in order to build more nuclear power capacity and obtain more uranium in the near future, there may be no point in proceeding with this civil Fuel Complex.


The PAEC has responsibility for radioactive waste management. A Radioactive Waste Management Fund is proposed in a new proposed policy. Waste Management Centres are proposed for Karachi and Chashma.

Used fuel is currently stored at each reactor in pools. Longer-term dry storage at each site is proposed. The question of future reprocessing remains open.

A National Repository for low- and intermediate-level wastes is due to be commissioned by 2015.


The Pakistan Nuclear Regulatory Authority is responsible for licensing and supervision, and in respect to the Chashma reactors it works closely with China's NNSA.

R&D and other activities

Pakistan also has a 10 MW research reactor, PARR-Reactor, of 1965 vintage operated by the Pakistan Institute of Nuclear Science and Technology.

Another "multipurpose" reactor, a 50 MWt PHWR near Khushab, started operating in 1998 and is evidently for producing weapons-grade plutonium. A similar or possibly larger heavy water reactor has been under construction at Khushab since about 2002. Khushab is reported to be making demands upon the country's limited uranium resources. A small heavy water plant is nearby. Reprocessing of military material is reported to take place at Chashma, 80 km west.


Pakistan is not party to the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty but does have its main civil power reactors under item-specific IAEA safeguards. It has refused calls for international inspections of its enrichment activities. In May 1998 it exploded a total of six atomic devices at two separate locations, evidently made from enriched uranium.[5]

History of Pakistan's Nuclear weapons

The main impetus for the country's nuclear program occurred after India test detonated a nuclear device in 1974 near the border with Pakistan. This caused great alarm in the country and the government was further surprised by the muted response of the international community to the provocative gestures of Pakistan's arch rival. It was Pakistan's elected Prime Minister Zulfiqar Ali Bhutto who made Pakistan's intentions poignant when he declared "that we'll eat grass, but we'll make a nuclear bomb".

Policy of deliberate ambiguity

The informations of Pakistani nuclear program are unknown to the world. Pakistan covertly developed its nuclear weapons over many decades, beginning in the early 1970s under the secretive research program Project-706. It is contended that Pakistan began its nuclear development programs in response to India's nuclear device when it was exploded in 1974. In an interview given by the dr. Abdul Qadeer Khan to Dawn News, Khan had said that the cost of the nuclear programme was less than the amount spent on the purchase of F-16 planes[6]. However, the exact cost for the construction of the Pakistani nuclear program are unknown, though the Pakistani media have escalated later by saying that the program cost $450 million in the early 1970s, which half of which was raised by Libya and Saudia Arabia. During the early 1970s, the most of these donors were given by Colonel Gaddafi to Bhutto.

It is also unknown when Pakistan began its nuclear development projects and when it was completed, but by the 1980s, it was suspected of having successfully developed nuclear devices. However, this was to remain speculative and was kept in high secrecy until May, 1998 when Pakistan replied to the previously conducted Indian nuclear tests. This was done due to the immense pressure from the International world and also the defence sector. The state proposed nuclear policy is completely unknown and it maintains a highly level of secreacy prior to its nuclear test site, scientists and testing.

Impact of Indo-U.S Nuclear Agreement

Many organisations have speculated Pakistan's nuclear bomb production capacity to be in between 50-60 per year although the exact number of possible nuclear weapons within Pakistan's arsenal is kept strictly confidential. Until recently these figures were widely accepted but according to a British intelligence report (after President Bush's visit to India, Pakistan and Afghanistan in 2006 where he confirmed a nuclear deal between the US and India) Pakistan's production capacity was mentioned as twice the original estimation due to the detection of a secret heavy water plant in the Punjab region of Pakistan. However, this was largely taken as a rumour to justify US and India nuclear deal. Pakistan currently possesses ballistic missiles and fighter planes which can carry conventional weapons and nuclear warheads.

See also


  1. ^ [1]
  2. ^ [2]
  3. ^ [3]
  4. ^ [4]
  5. ^ 1998: World fury at Pakistan's nuclear tests
  6. ^

External links


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