Prime Minister Abbasi after inaugurating C-4 power plant in Chashma, Mianwali, in the province of Punjab yesterday. Image Credit: PID

Islamabad: Pakistan launched its fifth nuclear power plant on Friday to meet the growing demands of energy in the nation.

Pakistan will receive a major energy boost as the “new plant will generate 340 megawatt (MW) of electricity”, Prime Minister Shahid Khaqan Abbasi announced as he inaugurated the plant in Mianwali in the province of Punjab.

Chashma Nuclear Power Plant Unit-4 (C-4) would be operational and connected to the country’s power grid with tremendous effort from Pakistan Atomic Energy Commission (PAEC) and China. The plant would pass through various functional and safety-related tests at full power.

The successful operation of Chashma Nuclear Power Plant Unit-4 would be a landmark achievement of PAEC’s, effectively pursuing its vision of nuclear technology for peaceful purposes.

Addressing the inaugural ceremony of the plant, Abbasi said the project would help the country’s energy problem.

Pakistan’s government is committed to achieving the goal of adding 8,800MW of nuclear energy to the national grid by 2030, he said.

The nuclear power plants in the country have contributed greatly to providing cheap electricity to the energy-starved nation.

“The Chashma nuclear power projects units C-1, C-2 and C-3 have been successfully contributing to the national grid with an excellent performance since 2000, 2011 and 2016 respectively,” PM Abbasi noted.

In his speech, Abbasi thanked the government of China for its cooperation, saying the projects could not have been completed without the support of Chinese people and the government.

Referring to China — Pakistan Economic Corridor projects, he said the fruits of the government’s endeavours have started reaching people with a network of roads being spread across the country and the development of Gwadar and Thar Coal. The ongoing projects are being expedited and will be completed by June next year.

Pakistan is also building two more nuclear power plants in Karachi, known as K-2 and K-3, which are scheduled to be operational in 2020 and 2021 respectively and will add 2,200MW electricity to the national grid.

More power generation projects would be launched in Chashma and Muzaffarabad areas, the PM said, expressing hope that the gross domestic product (GDP) growth rate will reach more than 6 per cent by next year.

Abbasi also said the energy projects, of more than 10,000MW, by the Pakistan Muslim League (Nawaz) government have helped overcome load-shedding, and the government will be able to end the problem by November 2017.

Currently, Pakistan’s four nuclear power plants — KANUPP, C-1, C-2 and C-3 — are generating a total of 1,030MW of power, which will be enhanced with the inauguration of the C-4 Chashma plant.