ISLAMABAD - Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif will inaugurate 340 megawatt Chashma-III Nuclear Power Plant (Unit C-III) today.

“Chashma-III will be inaugurated today, while 340 megawatt Chashma-IV unit of the project will be made operational by July 2017,” secretary Pakistan Atomic Energy Commission (PAEC), Attiq Ahmed said, while briefing the National Assembly's Committee on Planning, Development and Reform here on Tuesday. The committee, chaired by Abdul Majeed Khan, was attended by MNAs Choudhry Jaffar Iqbal, Junaid Akbar, Sher Akber Khan, Shaza Fatima Khawaja, Shazia Farid, Shamasun Nisa, Qaiser Jamal, Sheikh Salahuddin, and Iftikharud Din.

The committee was also informed that the prime minister of Pakistan would inaugurate 81 MW Kurrum Tangi dam, located in North Waziristan Agency on January 4, 2017. The secretary PAEC further informed the committee that currently 733 megawatt nuclear-based electricity was being provided to the national grid and with the inauguration of Chashma-III the share of nuclear energy would increase to more than 1,000 MW.

Besides, he said that there were issues with funds arrangement for two 1,100 megawatt nuclear power plants at Karachi. Funds of $5 billion are required for the construction of these power plants, the secretary PAEC added.

Meanwhile, WAPDA Chairman Lt Gen (retired), Muzammil Hussain said that currently out of total 17,000 MW power generation, thermal power generation in the country was 9,000 MW, hydel 7,000 MW and MIX generation is 2,000 MW. “It’s a matter of shame that in the last 70 years we were able to generate only seven per cent of the potential hydel power ,” he said.

The total hydel potential of the country is 100,000 MW, while identified hydel potential is 60,000 MW, Hussain added.  “Our survival lies in hydle power , which is cheaper in maintenance,” he added. Hussain informed the committee that 2,400 megawatt electricity would be added to the national grid by 2018. He said that due to wrong planning, the cost of Neelum-Jhelum increased from Rs84 billion to more than Rs450 billion.

However, Hussain said that the project would start electricity generation by February 2018.

Besides, he said the Diamar-Bhasha dam would be developed in two phases.

In the first phase, a water reservoir will be constructed at a cost of $7 billion during the first seven years, and later a power generation house would be constructed, which would cost $7 billion.

WAPDA chairman said that Dasu project would also start in April 2017 and it would also be completed in two phases.

Regarding Munda dam, Hussain said that detailed engineering study of the project would be completed by February 2017 and then international tenders would be invited for the project.

He said that work on Kicchi Canal was also on track and it would be able to irrigate 55,000 acres of Baluchistan by June 2017.

Regarding Tarbella 4th extension, chairman Wapda said that the first unit of 470 MW would start power generation by August 2017.

Meanwhile, the committee sought detailed record of documents related to the Mangla Dam Raising Project.

The committee was informed that the record of corruption and irregularities in Mangla project was provided to the National Accountability Bureau (NAB) and they had already started probe.

These corruption charges in this project had been causing huge financial losses to the national exchequer.

The committee recommended that the names of the technical committee be provided to the committee, which changed the design of Rathoua Haryam Bridge. The Ministry of Water and Power assured the committee that the issue of creation/operation of FESCO Division Darya Khan and two sub-divisions at Dulley Wala and Jandanwala would be resolved at the earliest.

The feasibility study of the construction of bridge on River Indus to link Kallur Kot with DI Khan has been completed.