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K2 PAKISTAN TURNS OVER A NEW LEAF IN PRODUCING POWER

By launching Karachi Nuclear Power Plant Unit-2 (K-2), Pakistan has turned over a new leaf in producing nuclear power. Last month, Prime Minister Imran Khan inaugurated the Karachi Nuclear Power Plant Unit-2 (K-2). Prime Minister addressed the inaugurating ceremony and said that the unit — established due to cooperation between Pakistan and China — will generate 1,100MW of clean energy. “This is important for us because Pakistan is among the top 10 countries at risk due to climate change.” Being conscious of water needs he said that glaciers supply 80 per cent of Pakistan's water needs. “Glaciers are melting at a rapid speed, and our coming generations will face an acute water shortage as well as food security issues if the effects of climate change are not reversed.” He said that that the project will help to train manpower and facilitate technology transfer from China, adding that 40,000 experts visited the country over an extended period of time. “This is another area of cooperation with China.” Speaking on the occasion, the chairman of the China Atomic Energy Authority said that the power plant was being inaugurated on the 70th anniversary of the establishment of diplomatic relations between Pakistan and China. He said China and Pakistan have been extending support to each other and cooperating in various fields. He said the two countries have also been cooperating in the peaceful use of nuclear energy. He expressed the hope that bilateral cooperation will further expand in the future, Radio Pakistan reported. According to media reports, the K-2 plant has 60-year life expectancy, extendable to 20 more years. It is designed with higher plant availability and capacity factors, and extended refuelling cycle. The construction of K-2 commenced in November 2013, whereas its fuel loading started on Dec 1, 2020 after approval from the Pakistan Nuclear Regulatory Authority. A series of cold and hot functional commissioning tests related to plant operation and safety were conducted, before achieving criticality at the end of February this year. After further reactor physics tests, the plant was connected to national grid on March 18, 2021 for trial operation and power escalation tests. In a statement, the PAEC termed it a ‘Pakistan Day’ gift to the nation. It said the nuclear power plant (NPP) had achieved criticality at the end of February and was undergoing certain safety tests and procedures before it could finally be connected to the national grid. The PAEC pointed out that K-2 is the first nuclear power plant in Pakistan with a generation capacity of 1,100MW and its addition to the national grid will “surely help improve the economy of the country”. The other one, K-3, is also in completion phase and is expected to be operational by the end of this year.