Pakistan’s fourth nuclear power plant went online on Wednesday, a joint collaboration with China that adds 340 megawatts to the national grid as part of the government’s efforts to end a growth-sapping energy deficit.

The Chashma-III reactor, located some 250 kilometres southwest of Islamabad, is the third built as part of 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 137MW.

“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,” Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif told an inaugural ceremony.

He said a fourth Chashma plant was expected to be commissioned by April 2017. Two more reactors would follow at an unspecified date in central Pakistan, as well as two giant 2,200MW power stations in Karachi.

The government is aiming to produce 8,800MW from atomic energy by 2030.

China is ramping up investment in Pakistan as part of a $46 billion project unveiled last year that will link its far-western Xinjiang region to Gwadar port with a series of infrastructure, power and transport upgrades.

Last week, Pakistan Stock Exchange announced that a Chinese consortium was set to acquire a 40 percent stake in the stock exchange in a deal estimated at $84 million. Shanghai Electric announced in August it would buy a majority stake in the utility that supplies energy to Karachi for $1.7 billion, in the country’s biggest ever private-sector acquisition.