The Chairman of Pakistan’s atomic energy commission has said that in order to achieve the targeted nuclear power capacity of 8,800 megawatts (MW) by 2030, three or four big nuclear reactors will be built.
Currently, there are five small reactors operating but together, they are only capable of producing 1300MW. One of the reactors, the Chashma plant situated in Punjab, became functional this year in September. It was built by the China National Nuclear Corp (CNNC).
The company is also building two reactors – the Chinese Hualong One reactors – in Karachi and each has a capacity of 1100MW.
According to the Chairman of the Pakistan Atomic Energy Commission, Muhammad Naeem, the new reactors are nearing completion; one is 60 percent and the other is 40 percent complete. They will be operational in 2020 and 2021 respectively.
Muhammad Naeem also said that Pakistan Atomic Energy Commission will award another contract to build a nuclear reactor before year-end. This will be the 8th nuclear reactor and it will have a capacity of 1100MW. After it’s functional, it should boost Pakistan’s nuclear capacity to approximately 5,000MW.
The chairman stayed silent about the number of contenders trying to win the contract. He also declined to share whether there are non-Chinese companies bidding for the contract.
One of the 5 reactors currently operational in Pakistan, is a Canadian-manufactured 125MW capacity nuclear reactor. This reactor has been operational since 1972 and it alone is responsible for 5% power supply in Pakistan – rest of Pakistan’s power is generated from gas, oil, and hydropower.