Pakistan's top-level Executive Committee of the National Economic Council has approved funds to purchase two new nuclear power reactors from China.
The 1100 MWe ACP1000 units were together priced at PKR959 billion ($9.6 billion). They will be supplied by China National Nuclear Corp and built at the coastal Karachi site near Paradise Point in Sindh province about 25 kilometres west of the capital.
At present Pakistan 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 reactors operating with two more under construction.
|How a single ACP1000 could look (Image: CNNC)
The incoming ACP1000s are derived from the 900 MWe units that China imported from France in the 1990s. In April this year, Chinese authorities said they had full intellectual property rights over the design, had completed the phase of 'research and design review' and would move their focus to 'construction and market development.'
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.
Commitments were also made for 969 MWe of hydro and 425 MWe of combined cycle gas turbines, which together were worth PKR334 billion ($3.3 billion). The investment package will increase Pakistan's electrical generating capacity by about 16% and should help to control prices, reduce dependence on oil and serve to reduce the carbon intensity of Pakistan's generating mix.
Researched and written
by World Nuclear News