ISLAMABAD: On Tuesday, Pakistan began loading fuel for testing at a 1,100 MW nuclear power plant in Karachi in the run-up to its commercial operations in April 2021, while the government of Azad Jammu and Kashmir signed agreements with a Chinese company to develop a 700 MW hydropower dam.
Fuel loading for the newly constructed Karachi Nuclear Power Plant Unit-2 (K-2) began on Tuesday after receiving a fuel load permit from the Pakistan Nuclear Regulatory Authority, a spokesperson for the Pakistan Atomic Energy Commission (PAEC) said.
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According to the spokesman, K-2 is a pressurised water reactor based on the Chinese HPR-1000 technology and a third generation plant fitted with enhanced safety features. Construction of the K-2 plant began on 31 August 2015 and will commence commercial operations in April 2021, after numerous technical and safety checks.
Agreements signed with Chinese firm for construction of hydropower project in Azad Kashmir
One of the two 1,100MW nuclear power plants being installed in Karachi is K-2. By the end of 2021, the other factory, K-3, is scheduled to become operational. Despite the tough times due to the Covid-19 pandemic, the completion of these nuclear power plants has largely remained on budget. Director-General of Strategic Plan Division Lt Gen Nadeem Zaki Manj, PAEC Chairman Mohammad Naeem and senior Chinese and Pakistani officials witnessed the fuel filling.
Separately, as part of the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor, the AJK government and the Chinese company China Gezhouba Group and its local partner Laraib Group concluded an implementation agreement and water use charges agreement for the development of the Azad Pattan Hydropower Project (CPEC).
The 700.7MW project will require no fuel imports with an investment of over $1.35 billion and enable the country to shift towards cheaper and greener power generation, said AJK Prime Minister Raja Farooq Haider Khan on the occasion.
The signing ceremony was attended by Federal Minister of Power Omer Ayub Khan, Minister of Planning Asad Umar, Chairman of the defunct-CPEC Authority retd Lt Gen Asim Saleem Bajwa, AJK Chief Secretary Dr Shahzad Khan Bangash and Shah Jahan Mirza, Managing Director of the Private Power and Infrastructure Board (PPIB).
Zafar Mahmood Khan, AJK’s electricity minister, and Li Xiaotao, Azad Pattan Power Private Limited’s CEO, have signed the project agreements, the GoAJ&K Implementation Agreement and GoAJ&K Water Use Agreement.
In July of this year in the presence of Prime Minister Imran Khan, the Government of Pakistan Implementation Agreement, the Government of Punjab Water Use Agreement and the Tripartite Power Purchase Agreements for the project were already concluded. The signing of Tuesday’s agreement would allow the financial closure of the project to be accomplished.
The Letter of Support (LOS) was given to Azad Pattan Power Project Limited by the PPIB for the project. It is a run-off river system situated at the dual border between AJK (Bagh district) and Punjab on the Jhelum River (Rawalpindi district).
The owners of the project are China Gezhouba Group and Laraib Group Pakistan. The lenders’ consortium consists of China Development Fund, China Building Bank, China Industrial and Commercial Bank and China Bank.
Under the Strategy for Power Generation Projects 2002, the Azad Pattan Project is being initiated by the PPIB on a constructed, owned, controlled and transition basis for a period of 30 years during which it will be transferred free of cost to the AJK government. The project is projected to supply the national grid with around 3,266 GWh of electricity each year by 2027.
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The project will play a crucial role in boosting the local economy by creating jobs and business opportunities during the time of its development, the Ministry of Power said. The AJK and Punjab governments would raise a large amount of revenue on the basis of taxation, fees, etc.