Pakistan to construct two nuclear power plants with Chinese help

> Islamabad, Apr 15, 2009 -- Asia Pulse Data Source
> Pakistan has given a go ahead for construction of two more
> nuclear power plants of 340 MW each with the Chinese help at the
> Chashma complex at a cost of USD 2.37 billion, a media report said
> today.
> The two plants, to be supplied by China, will involve a foreign
> exchange component of USD 1.75 billion, the Business Recorder
> newspaper quoted its sources as saying.
> The government has approved the proposal, but it was not made
> part of the formal agenda of a recent meeting of the Executive
> Committee of the National Economic Council and was distributed among
> members of the panel and provincial officials at the end of the
> meeting without necessary details, the sources were quoted as saying.
> "Please do not seek any details and clarification about the
> project.
> Approve it in the national interest," one official reportedly told the
> committee's meeting.
> China had agreed in principle to provide two nuclear power plants
> to help meet Pakistan's growing electricity needs and was about to
> sign an agreement during a visit by the Chinese President to
> Islamabad.
> However, China shelved the project after the issue was reported
> in the media, arguing that it would not indulge in any controversy,
> sources said.
> A fresh endeavour was made to streamline negotiations to acquire
> the nuclear plants when Pakistan's Joint Chiefs of Staff Committee
> chairman visited Beijing some years ago. Earlier, Pakistan was
> expecting nuclear power plants with a total generating capacity of
> 1,000 MW and indigenous fabrication of nuclear plants with a capacity
> of 300 MW with Chinese assistance.
> However, the capacity has now been reduced. The Central
> Development Working Party headed by former Planning Commission Deputy
> Chairman Akram Sheikh has approved the setting up of Nuclear Fuel
> Enrichment Plant at a cost of Rs 13.7 billion, including a foreign
> exchange component of Rs 8.13 billion.
> However, it remains unclear how Pakistan and China will get
> approval for the move from the International Atomic Energy Agency and
> the Nuclear Suppliers Group.
> Islamabad has been pressing the world community to forge a civil
> nuclear cooperation regime similar to the one extended to India so
> that it can gain access to nuclear technology and materials.
> The Chashma site already has two power plants built with Chinese
> help.
> The first nuclear reactor now generates 300 MW and the second one is
> currently being completed.
> Pakistan plans to increase the share of nuclear power from one
> per cent to 5.4 per cent by establishing atomic plants capable of
> generating 8,800 MW by 2030.