Karachi 3 receives operating licence

01 June 2023

The Pakistan Nuclear Regulatory Authority (PNRA) has granted an operating licence for unit 3 of the Karachi nuclear power plant, the second of two Chinese-supplied Hualong One reactors at the site.

Representatives from the Pakistan Atomic Energy Commission are presented with the operating licence for Karachi 3 (Image: PNRA)

Units 2 and 3 of the Karachi site - near Paradise Point in the province of Sindh - are the first exports of China National Nuclear Corporation's 1100 MWe Hualong One pressurised water reactor, which is also promoted on the international market as HPR1000.

Construction of unit 2 began in 2015, with that of unit 3 following in May 2016. Karachi 2 achieved first criticality in February 2021 and was connected to the grid the following month after the completion of commissioning tests. The then Prime Minister Imran Khan formally inaugurated unit 2 on 21 May 2021. Unit 2 was granted an operating licence by PNRA in June 2022.

Unit 3 achieved first criticality on 21 February 2022 and was connected to the grid on 4 March. It passed acceptance tests on 18 April 2022, marking its entry into commercial operation. A ceremony has been held to mark the inauguration of unit 3 in February this year.

After the successful completion of criticality and pre-operational tests, the Pakistan Atomic Energy Commission applied for the issuance of an operating licence for Karachi 3 in October 2022.

PNRA said "upon completion of regulatory review and assessment and inspection processes of the licensing submissions and satisfactory resolution of all regulatory issues", it issued the operating licence on 31 May.

The Karachi site - also sometimes referred to as KANUPP - was home to Pakistan's first nuclear power reactor, Karachi 1 - a small 100 MWe (90 MWe net) Canadian pressurised heavy water reactor which shut down in 2021 after 50 years of operation.

The first domestic demonstration plants of CNNC's Hualong One design are Fuqing 5 and 6, in China's Fujian province. The units entered commercial operation in January 2021 and March 2022, respectively.

Researched and written by World Nuclear News