Sunday 12 October 2008

Pakistan will install 10 nuclear power plants

Pakistan will install 10 nuclear power plants in toto for which six sites have been selected to make possible "the mission impossible" to increase capacity to generate 8,800 MW of nuclear energy in over 22 years time, a senior government official told The News.

"The Pakistan Atomic Energy Commission (PAEC) has selected six sites on the basis of the Pakistan Nuclear Regulatory Authority (PNRA) and the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA)." According to a senior official, the PAEC have selected six sites for installation of more nuclear power plants (NPPs) that include 1) Qadirabad-Bulloki (QB) link canal near Qadirabad Headworks; 2) Dera Ghazi Khan (DG) canal near Tuansa barrage, 3) Taunsa-Punjnad (TP) canal near Multan; 4) Nara canal near Sukkur, 5) Pat Feeder canal near Guddu and 6) Kabul river near Nowshera.

├ČThese sites are in addition to the Chashma site where four nuclear plants will be installed. The other nuclear power plants would be installed at sites selected by the PAEC." "Objectives of the site selection are to determine all natural and man-induced hazards at a site which could jeopardise the safety of the NPP; reject a site if an engineering solution is not available to mitigate effects of any hazard and establish design-based parameters.

Under the strategy to achieve the target, Islamabad is to seek from Beijing the fuel technology for future nuclear power plants during the forthcoming visit of President Zardari to China that is to take place somewhere by the mid of next month.

"Pakistan that is going to install two more nuclear power plants at Chashma which are to be known as C-3 and C-4. These power plants will cost over Rs 139 billion, including a foreign exchange component of Rs 99.538 billion."

The country has also planned to establish a nuclear power fuel complex (NPFC) at a cost of Rs 51.298 billion to locally fabricate fuel that will be used for the future nuclear power plants in the country. The Nuclear Power Fuel Complex is under implementation that consists of five components that include Chemical Processing Plants, Enrichment Plant, Seamless Tube Plant-1; Fuel Fabrication Plant; and Nuclear Fuel Testing Plant.

To achieve the target, authorities concerned also made a plan to develop manpower to materialise the country's nuclear power programme. "We have, to this effect, initiated a capacity building program of paramount importance at a cost of Rs 491.42 million, including foreign exchange component of Rs 166.70 million," the official said.

The government needs trained and qualified professionals to collaborate in the design and construction of more nuclear power plants to generate 8,800 MW of electricity. "Practically, we need 200-300 professionals per plant and an overhead of 600-800 centrally placed professionals to participate in the project management, design, engineering construction and installation of the nuclear power plants."

"The currently available manpower for this purpose is less than 150 persons." To a question, the official said selected professionals would also be provided sufficient competency in Chinese language to enable them to communicate with vendors and manufacturers in China.

They would also be provided some on-the-job hands-on training in the Chinese nuclear industry especially those related to manufacturing. To a question, the official said the PAEC has planned to recruit 400 persons during the next five years at the rate of 80 persons per year and keep them under training for a period of 18-20 months.

"The training program of these persons will primarily consist of teaching them technical Chinese languages. And the services of NUML (National University of Modern Language) specialists will be used for this purpose."

The official also disclosed that the said personnel would also be provided some nuclear power plants orientation and those who are not well-versed with Chinese language and in orientation courses will be sent for on-job training in China for up to four months depending upon their area of expertise and the availability of the training location.

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