CHASHMA - Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif on Wednesday inaugurated the Chashma-III nuclear power plant, a joint collaboration with China, that will add 340 megawatt electricity to the national grid as part of the government’s efforts to end a growth-sapping energy deficit.
The Chashma-III reactor is the third built as part of a collaboration between the Pakistan Atomic Energy Commission (PAEC) and China National Nuclear Corporation (CNNC).
The country’s first nuclear plant was supplied by Canada in 1972, with an installed capacity of 137 MW.
“Today we have crossed an important milestone in the journey to free the nation from scheduled power cuts. I am thankful to Allah and congratulate the entire nation,” Nawaz told an inaugural ceremony attended by Pakistani and Chinese officials.
He added a fourth Chashma plant was expected to be commissioned by April 2017. Two more reactors would follow at an unspecified date in central parts of the country, as well as two giant 2,200 MW power stations in Karachi.
Chashma-III Plant Manager Riaz Khaliq Ansari briefed the prime minister about the facility in the Control Room. The prime minister was apprised that this was the third project after successful operation of Chashma-I and Chashma-II projects, which were fully operational and producing 325 and 340 MW respectively.
Chashma-IV Nuclear Power Project to be completed in 2017 and Karachi Nuclear Power Projects K-2 and K-3 will add a total of 8,800 MW electricity to the national grid by 2030 as mid-term target for Pakistan Atomic Energy Commission.
All nuclear power projects, including Chashma-III, have been approved by Pakistan Nuclear Regulatory Authority for nuclear safeguards as per International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) agreements thereby maintaining highest safety standards.
In his address, Nawaz while criticising the previous governments for pushing the country into darkness of loadshedding, said “Those responsible must be questioned over their grave negligence.”
“They must be asked for bringing in an era of darkness in Pakistan and giving the nation a curse of 18-hour electricity loadshedding a day,” he said.
The prime minister said an uninterrupted supply of electricity was a lifeline for the continuity of industrial activity in the country, which suffered a severe setback due to power crisis.
Nawaz said the country was now coming out of its troubled times with the completion of development projects on full pace, improved economy and law and order situation.
He said since everything was going on in right direction, all the political sit-ins and agitations were simply useless. “Do not create hurdles and put Pakistan’s interests ahead of your personal ones,” he asked the politicians.
He said such attempts were meant to interrupt the journey of progress and urged upon the political parties to rise above mutual differences and work in the interest of Pakistan.
Nawaz said ending loadshedding was the government’s top priority and termed completion of Chashma-III nuclear power plant another milestone achieved towards zero-loadshedding. “The commitment to rid the nation of loadshedding by 2018 will be fulfilled Insha’Allah, for which I am personally overseeing the power projects.”
The prime minister said Chashma-III project was a reflection of solid foundation of friendship between Pakistan and China. He felicitated the nation on completion of the project, which besides adding 340 megawatts electricity to national grid would also contribute to development of the region.
He recalled that the agreement on Chashma-I power project was concluded during his earlier tenure of government. He said the completion of K2 and K3 power plants would not only generate 2,200 megawatt electricity but also strengthen ties between the two countries.
He expressed satisfaction over assurance given by the authorities for completion of Chashma-IV by April 2017 instead of the earlier deadline of mid-2017.
He said besides expansion of nuclear projects, the government was also mindful of ensuring their safety standards and expressed satisfaction over the vigilance of Pakistan Nuclear Regulatory Authority.
Nawaz said the government would fulfill needs of Pakistan Atomic Energy Commission (PAEC) in its projects and also thanked China Atomic Energy Commission, China National Nuclear Commission and Exim Bank for providing financial and technical support.
He invited the Chinese companies to invest in Pakistan’s power sector and assured them of the government’s fullest assistance. He said Pakistan and China being close friends were collaborating in diverse areas, mainly China Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC) and infrastructure projects.
The prime minister mentioned that the government with Chinese assistance was building highways in Balochistan, constructing modern airport in Gwadar and upgrading railway system.
He said power projects were being built in all provinces, adding there was a tremendous potential for Sino-Pak collaboration in energy sector.
The prime minister lauded the services of staffers of Chashma-III power project and announced a two-month bonus with their salaries in recognition to their hard work.
PAEC Chairman Muhammad Naeem said the environment-friendly Chashma nuclear projects were in accordance with the international safety standards. The completion of Chashma-III would not only meet the national requirements of electricity but would also ensure continuity of economic activity, he added.
The vice president of CNNC said China’s cooperation with Pakistan in nuclear energy was for peaceful purposes and reflected strategic nature of their relationship. He said nuclear projects were one of the important resources of sustainable energy and economy.
He felicitated Pakistan government on completion of Chashma-III and said China would further strengthen cooperation in nuclear energy.
Minister for Water and Power Khawaja Asif, PM’s Adviser on Foreign Affairs Sartaj Aziz, State Minister for Water and Power Abid Sher Ali and Director General Strategic Plans Division Lt Gen Mazhar Jameel were also present on the occasion.
Country’s 4th nuclear power plant turned onThis news was published in The Nation newspaper. Read complete newspaper of 29-Dec-2016 here.