Karachi nuclear power plant Pakistan
Fuel loading has commenced at Unit 2 of Karachi nuclear power plant (KANUPP). Image Credit: PAEC

Islamabad: Fuel loading has commenced at Unit 2, the newly built Karachi nuclear power plant (KANUPP) called K-2, according to Pakistan Atomic Energy Commission (PAEC). The fuel loading that began after obtaining permit from Pakistan Nuclear Regulatory Authority (PNRA) marked the safe and gradual commencing operations and consequent generation of clean electricity.

Different tests will begin soon to ensure safety and standards compliance on International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) till March 2021 following which K-2 will begin operation, according to PAEC spokesperson. The fuel loading was witnessed by PAEC Chairman Mohammad Naeem, Director General of the Strategic Plans Division Lt Gen Nadeem Zaki Manj, and other senior Pakistani and Chinese officials.

Karachi nuclear power plant facility extension

K-2 facility near the coastal city of Karachi houses one of the two 1,100 megawatt (MW) nuclear power plants under development. The construction of K-2 and K-3 units began in August 2015 and May 2016. Unit 2 is scheduled to begin commercial operations in April 2021 when it will be connected to national electrical grid system while K-3 is expected to become active by the end of 2021. Each unit will generate nearly 1,100MW bringing safe and clean energy and to meet the rising electricity demand in the country.

Pakistan built its first 137MW nuclear power plant at Karachi in 1972, which is still in operation. However KANUPP unit 1 is expected to permanently shut soon after the new reactor units starts working. Karachi nuclear power plant extension, being built with assistance from China, is estimated to cost around $10 billion.

Karachi nuclear power plant new units

KANUPP-2 and KANUPP-3 reactor units are based on the Chinese Hualong One (HPR100) technology, a pressurised water reactor (PWR). Both units will each consist of a nuclear island, conventional island and balance of plant. Reactor units will have a life of 60 years and account for roughly 10 per cent of the country’s total generation capacity. HPR1000 is described as “robust and resilient” system with improved safety, reliability and economic efficiency. The core is composed of 177 fuel assemblies, which “reduces its core power density and improves its design safety level.”

Pakistan nuclear power plants

Pakistan’s main nuclear facilities are in Karachi and Chashma and are subject to IAEA safeguards. Chashma site, also called Chasnupp, is home to four nuclear power plants that collectively generate around 1,330 megawatts of electricity. In 2017, PAEC signed an agreement with the state-owned China National Nuclear Corporation (CNNC) to build a Hualong One reactor as unit 5 of the Chashma plant.

Pakistan nuclear electricity

Pakistan currently has five operational nuclear power stations, with generating capacity of 1430 MW that supplied 8.2 per cent of total electricity in 2019-20. Currently, 2300 megawatt electric (MWe) power plants are under construction. PAEC plans to increase nuclear power production to 8,800MW by 2030.