KARACHI: Pakistan’s “self-created hurdles” stalled the work on the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC), said Prime Minister on Thursday as he inaugurated the country’s seventh nuclear power plant in Karachi. The premier stressed the need for more cheap energy sources in the face of a costly fuel import bill.
However, the premier vowed that there would be no roadblocks to the multibillion-dollar infrastructure project from now on as he spoke at the launching ceremony where Chinese authorities were also present.
delays at each Project Phase
PM Shehbaz, without naming the previous government said “In the recent past, we ourselves created hurdles that led to a deadlock in the CPEC project. But now, I firmly hope and believe that these CPEC projects will be completed at pace.”
He noted that delays occurred at the launching, execution and completion phases of several CPEC-related projects. The projects ranged from rebuilding the railway network to setting up special industrial zones were earlier delayed.
Nuclear Power Plant inaugurated
The newly inaugurated nuclear power facility called K-3 has a nameplate capacity of 1,100 megawatts. It becomes the third unit of the Karachi Nuclear Power Plant (Kanupp).
Seizing Opportunity for Chashnupp-5
The prime minister, seizing the opportunity at the event, addressed the top officials of China’s nuclear energy regulatory agency to consider signing an agreement for another nuclear power project in Pakistan called Chasnupp-5.
In his words,
“I publicly make a very serious and sincere offer that let’s sit down and discuss all the important aspects of our next proposal,” “And if you can really agree on pricing formulas and important terms and conditions, I think we can certainly sign a letter of intent tomorrow, which would lead to an agreement in weeks and months. So, the ball is now in your court. And if you agree on a price of $2 million per megawatt, we can sign an agreement right now.”
The Snag in the Nuclear Power Generation earlier
Earlier, sources told that the development of C-5, which is the fifth unit of the Chashma Nuclear Power Generating Station, has hit a snag because of the reported refusal by the Ministry of Finance to furnish a sovereign guarantee.
The share of nuclear power in the national energy mix has grown at a sharp pace in recent years; with a share of 27.1pc, it was the largest contributor to the energy pie in December. Hydel, coal and local gas were the other main sources, with respective contributions of 20.4pc, 18.1pc and 15.1pc.
As many as six nuclear power plants are currently operational in the country. The first nuclear power plant, known as Kanupp-1, started generating 137MW of electricity way back in 1971. It was de-commissioned in 2021 after a 50-year run.
Meanwhile, the PAEC set up and has been running four nuclear power units based on Chinese technology near Chashma, Punjab. With a nameplate capacity of 325MW each, C-1 and C-2 started operations in 2000 and 2011, respectively. C-3 and C-4 became operational in 2016 and 2017, respectively, and have a gross capacity of 340MW each.
Separately, PAEC established K-2 and K-3 at Paradise Point, once a popular public beach on the outskirts of Karachi. The two units have a nameplate capacity of 1,100MW each.
The six nuclear plants have a combined installed capacity of 3,530MW, constituting a share of 8.1pc in the country’s total nameplate power-generating capacity.
In his speech on Thursday, PM Shehbaz called the completion of K-3 a step forward in cooperation with Pakistan’s “most trusted friend,” China. He also congratulated the scientists and engineers of both countries “who worked tirelessly to complete the project”.