By Hamza Ameer
Islamabad, May 23 (IANS) Pakistan Prime Minister Imran Khan has inaugurated the largest Chinese-built nuclear power plant, as the country tried to stretch itself away from dependency of fossil fuels for its energy needs.
The Karachi Nuclear Power Plant Unit-2 (K-2), established with the cooperation between Pakistan and China, is a coal-fired power production unit, which would be the country’s sixth nuclear power plant and is expected to bring dramatic increase the nuclear energy capacity.
Prime Minister Khan, who virtually inaugurated the K-2 nuclear power plant on Friday, said the unit would generate at least 1,100 MW of clear energy.
“This is important for us because Pakistan is among the top 10 countries at risk due to climate change,” he said.
“Unfortunately, we have not focused on producing energy from water and despite the country having potential to do so,” the premier said lamenting the previous governments for ignoring the serious issue of the country’s energy needs.
Pakistan has been struggling with fulfilling its rising energy needs, which have triggered due to energy shortage and the rising power prices, putting immense pressure on the people, who question the country’s policies.
The Prime Minister said that the country would not pursue any more power based on coal, as their construction would come with an environmental cost.
However, with the rising energy shortage, large-scale construction of new power plants, most of which are coal-fired, have boosted the country’s energy capacity.
The China National Nuclear Cooperation (CNNC) has designed the K-2 nuclear power plant.
Its construction started in 2015 and is planned to begin operation by the year 2022.
“The project will help to train manpower and facilitate technology transfer from China. 40,000 experts visited the country over an extended period of time. This is another area of cooperation with China,” said Khan.
He added that Pakistan was fortunate to have strong ties with an emerging power like China, who he said has stood by Islamabad during difficult times.
“We are confident that China will stand with us during difficult times. It is fortunate for us that Pakistan has strong ties with an emerging power and a developed country such a China. ”
The K-2 plant will be a major addition to facilitate the country’s energy needs.
It has a 60-year life expectancy, extendable to 20 more years and is designed with higher plant availability and capacity factors, and extended refueling cycle.
By Hamza Ameer