PRIME Minister Nawaz Sharif performed the groundbreaking ceremony of Pakistan’s sixth nuclear power project — the Karachi Coastal Power Project, of a total installed capacity of 2,200MWe.
Approved by the Executive Committee of the National Economic Council in July 2013, the project includes two commercial reactors — Kanupp-II and Kanupp-III, of 1,100MWe gross capacity each — which are being built near the existing Kanupp-I, about 25 miles west of Karachi.
They are to be constructed with third-generation nuclear power reactors developed by the Chinese as ‘Advanced China Pressurised ACP-1000,’ and will begin commercial operations within seven years.
According to the Energy Security Plan 2005-2030, a total of seven plants, each of about 1,000MWe, will be constructed by 2030 at sites that have been already identified; achieving a cumulative installed capacity of 8,800MWe by then.
In the backdrop of the fast-expanding nuclear power capacity and an embargo by the Nuclear Suppliers Group on sales of nuclear equipment and materials to Pakistan, the Pakistan Atomic Energy Commission (PAEC) is progressively developing an extensive infrastructure for advanced engineering, manufacturing, construction and maintenance of nuclear power installations.
In fact, indigenisation has been the hallmark of the civil nuclear power programme. The PAEC, over the decades, has been actively engaged in the development of human resource to support and sustain its diversified nuclear agenda. It has an elaborate in-house network of educational and training institutes, covering all aspects of nuclear science and technology.
PAEC’s integrated engineering, manufacturing and testing facilities have been producing nuclear safety class-2 and class-3 equipment, components and spares since long, based on internationally recognised quality and safety standards.
The indigenisation programme achieved a historical milestone on October 2, 2012, when the Pakistan Nuclear Regulatory Authority (PNRA) issued a five-year license to HMC-3 to manufacture the most sophisticated, nuclear safety class-1 equipment.
Class-1 nuclear safety equipment is related to core nuclear islands that are directly linked with controlling and maintaining multiple activities in a nuclear reactor. Thus, it is a major step toward achieving optimum indigenisation in nuclear power plants, and places Pakistan among the few countries certified to produce such equipment domestically.
Qualification of all electrical, electronics, electromechanical and mechanical equipment is vital for safety, so as to ensure its capability to perform safety functions on demand under speculated service conditions throughout the service life of plant.
Nuclear power generation is the best performing energy sub-sector, and grew from contributing 0.6 per cent to the country’s total grid electricity in 2000 to 4.9 per cent in 2012.
Currently, Pakistan operates Kanupp-I of 100MWe de-rated capacity, and Chasnupp-I and Chasnupp-II of 325MWe each, which have progressively achieved outstanding operating performance comparable with international benchmarks, along with an excellent safety record.
The construction of Chasnupp-III and Chasnupp-IV, each of 340MWe capacity, was commenced in May 2011 and December 2011, respectively, with Chinese assistance and under International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) safeguards. The two plants are scheduled to begin commercial operations by December 2016 and October 2017, respectively, and have a design life of 40 years.
Nuclear power, with an installed global capacity of 374,914MWe, contributes 11 per cent to the world’s total electricity generation from all energy sources. And there is a significant expansion taking place in nuclear power generation capacity across the world. At present, 64 power reactors are under construction in 14 countries, while another 160 are being planned, with a potential capacity of 178,000MWe.
The IAEA forecasts that global nuclear power capacity would double by 2030, and “nuclear power, in step with growing demand for energy, will continue expanding into the next two decades,” to total 748,000MWe.
Given self-reliance and indigenisation, Pakistan should be able to accelerate the addition of nuclear power capacity as planned, and in the future, could also eye the potential export market for equipment, components and accessories, under IAEA safeguards. Indeed, Pakistan now qualifies to be a member of the Nuclear Suppliers Group.
Source: Dawn News (Engr Hussain Ahmad Siddiqui is a former chairman of the State Engineering Corporation.)