Pakistan on Friday completed loading of nuclear fuel to the 2nd 1,100-megawatt K-3 nuclear power plant in Karachi after getting a formal fuel load permit from Pakistan Nuclear Regulatory Authority (PNRA).
The important milestone coincided with the completion of three decades of successful nuclear cooperation between Pakistan and China. In this connection, a ceremony was held to mark the 30 years of cooperation between China and Pakistan and the loading of K-3 fuel.
Karachi Nuclear Power Plant Unit-3, commonly named K-3, is in the final stages of commissioning. After operational and safety tests, the plant is expected to begin commercial operation by end of March 2022. With the introduction of K-2 and K-3 into the national grid, the share of nuclear power in the energy mix of Pakistan will exceed 10 percent.
A new era in the nuclear power development program of Pakistan commenced with the signing of the ‘Agreement for Cooperation in Peaceful Uses of Nuclear Energy’ between the governments of China and Pakistan in 1986. However, the first concrete step in the remarkable journey was taken 30 years ago when China National Nuclear Corporation (CNNC) and Pakistan Atomic Energy Commission (PAEC) signed a contract for construction and installation of a 325-megawatt Pressurized Water Reactor (PWR) at Chashma on December 31, 1991.
The cooperation strengthened with the construction of three more nuclear power plants at the Chashma Nuclear Power Generation Station (CNPGS) site. The contract for constructing two more units with a generation capacity of 1100 megawatts each near Karachi was signed on February 18, 2013. These units are called Karachi Nuclear Power Plant Unit-2 (K-2) &K-3. After the ground-breaking of K-2/K-3 in November 2013, the construction on K-3 was formally started.
Despite the COVID-19 pandemic, both Pakistan and China faced all odds and continued the construction work. K-2 successfully started commercial operation on May 21, 2021, and now K-3 is expected to do so by end of March 2022.
K-2 and K-3 are PWRs based on the Chinese ACP-1000 design and are generation three plants equipped with advanced safety features.
The ceremony was attended by Director-General Strategic Plans Division Lt. Gen. Nadeem Zaki Manj, HI(M); Chairman PAEC Muhammad Naeem (HI, SI), Chairman PNRA Faizan Mansoor and Chairman National Electric Power Regulatory Authority Tauseef H. Farooqi. Chairman China National Nuclear Corp. (CNNC), Chairman China Zhongyuan Engineering Corp (CZEC), Chairman China Atomic Energy Authority (CAEC), and the Chinese Embassy dignitaries also attended the ceremony online.