KARACHI - Pakistan Atomic Energy Commission (PAEC) Chairman Dr Ansar Pervaiz has ruled out any threat to nuclear plants in Karachi from Tsunami and said that the plants were constructed at 12 meters above sea level and maximum waves created by any tsunami is seven meters above sea level.

Briefing the media regarding feasibility of the nuclear plants in the city, the PAEC officials including Chairman Ansar Pervez said that surveys were conducted by a Canadian firm before building KANUPP in Karachi and they found the current location as feasible.

“We have also gathered information regarding tsunamis and storms in the area and it came into our knowledge that the worst tsunami that hit the area was in 1947 at Makran Coast that caused the waves to 2.7 meters,” they said adding that UNESCO also carried out a survey that found three seven meters waves.

The PAEC said that new plants - Kanupp-II and Kanupp-III - would be built on Generation III technology that had enhanced safety arrangements including two outer walls.  It was further informed that that along with safety from any leakage in first outer wall, the second outer wall is also meant for securing any terror incident like 9/11. “The second outer wall will bear any such pressure from strike from air and preserve the inner wall,” they said.

“Other than cooling systems that run through generators, the Generation III plants have a natural cooling system that could come into work in case of any halt of electricity,” they said adding that this feature had become more important after an incident at Fukushima in Japan that did not have a natural cooling system as they thought that there would be no electricity shutdown in Japan.

Responding about the KANUPP-I, that had the production facility of 125MW and the first one to be set up in the country, he said, the design life of Kanupp-I ended in 2002 and the plant was re-licensed by the Pakistan Nuclear Regulatory Authority in 2004 after upgrades. “Currently the plant is off keeping in view the safety measures and would soon be restarted,” he said adding that the plant would be winded up after Kanupp-II became operational.

The officials briefed that they had acquired a land of 585 acres for these two plants and construction would be started at the site from May 2015 after getting nod from Pakistan Nuclear Regularity Authority. “K-II will be completed by 2020 and K-III by 2021,” he said adding that international bodies including IAEC also visited the Pakistani sites and had expressed their satisfaction.  

It was informed that Pakistan was producing 755 mega watt electricity from nuclear plants and by 2050 it would reach to 40,000MW that would be less than India and China that are producing 5308 MW and 19050MW nowadays and would be able to produce 200,000MW and 400,000MW in 2050 respectively.

They said that from 1960’s only two deaths were reported from incident from nuclear plants which is far less casualties than other energy resources. “A myth is being created that nuclear radiations had severe effect on the human health and in case of any incident it could cause severe damage in surrounding areas,” he said adding that only 114 cases of affected people were reported since 1960’s in this regard.

He said that maximum radiation level that could not affect the human body was 100 msv/ year and they were able to decrease it to 2 to 3 msv/year in surrounding of nuclear plants . “There are even countries and areas across the globe that do not have nuclear plants but receive radiations of upto 10 msv/year,” he said.  He added that special efforts were taken to preserve marine life at the coast. They had carried out surveys that revealed that the maximum temperature of water in Karachi is 31C and the water that is used for cooling the plants only had increased around two to three degree centigrade that was still less than harmful level for marine that is 38C.  The PAEC chairman also said they would also hold a public hearing to communicate regarding advantages of these plants that would also include job opportunities and around $ 10 billion intake into the economy of the city after the functioning of the plants.