Pak-China cooperation in Nuclear Energy

A high-level ceremony was held to mark the end of acceptance tests of the K-3 in Karachi on Tuesday which was attended by the President of China National Nuclear Corporation (CNNC) and the Chairman of Pakistan Atomic Energy Commission (PAEC). During the ceremony, the representatives of both nations, China and Pakistan underscored that nuclear energy is playing an increasingly important role in promoting Pakistan’s economic and social development, improving people’s livelihood, and boosting green and low-carbon transformation. According to the Chinese Nuclear firm, Karachi 2 and 3 will provide Pakistan with nearly 20 billion kWh of clean electricity every year, meeting the annual demand of the local population of 2 million people. Nuclear energy currently provides around 8% of Pakistan’s energy mix from five reactors, which will touch 10% of the total consumption of Pakistan’s energy needs.
The recent ceremony of completion of all tests and initiation of commercial operation of K-3 has marked another milestone of Pak-China cooperation in the field of Nuclear Energy, which began its journey more than three decades ago. The presence of the top leadership of the Chinese National Nuclear Corporation and Pakistan Atomic Energy Commission at the occasion and their resolve to continue the ongoing cooperation between the two nations is very important for the promotion of this relationship. Historically, Pakistan was an energy deficient state, with a scarcity of resources as well as knowledge and expertise in Scientific and technical fields, while Pakistan’s ambition for a nuclear weapon to strengthen its defence became a hurdle for Pakistan’s journey toward peaceful nuclear energy because the pandits in the nuclear field including western nations and nuclear supplier group (NSG) were not ready to cooperate with Pakistan in the civil nuclear program because Pakistan was not a signatory to Nuclear Nonproliferation Treaty (NPT) and Comprehensive Test Ban Treaty (CTBT). Hence, Pakistan laid the foundation for cooperation in peaceful nuclear energy with its all-weather friend the Peoples Republic of China (PRC). This cooperation has now become an example for the world as both nations had jointly completed the construction of five nuclear power plants, whereas both nations had struck a deal for the construction of four additional Hualong one Pressurized Nuclear Reactors in Pakistan last year. According to reports, the Chinese firm will construct two Hualong one nuclear reactors in Karachi (K-4, K-5), and two similar reactors will be constructed at Muzaffargarh (M-1, M-2) in the coming years.
The K-3 Nuclear Power Plant has started its commercial operation, therefore, additional 1104 MWe will be added into the mainstream, thus share of nuclear energy in the national electricity grid would reach 10 percent of the total consumption of the country. It will not only satisfy Pakistan’s energy requirements but will be an important development towards Pakistan’s agenda under the Global Climate Change Program to maximize the use of clean energy in its national energy grid. Presently, China and Pakistan are jointly working in diverse areas of the nuclear industry including the construction of nuclear plants, uranium exploration, nuclear waste management, nuclear fuel, and nuclear technological application. This working relationship is not only benefiting both nations in respect of finances, sharing of knowledge, and technical expertise but also adding to the prestige and reputation of both countries because of their successful partnership in the nuclear field.