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Civil nuclear technology is the need of the hour

Pakistan has been experiencing an acute shortage of energy right across all sectors especially industry and through energy disruption to domestic users. These shortages have highlighted the necessity for reliable, cost realistic and effective sources of energy and an improvement in the distribution of energy to facilitate development of the country. Pakistan currently relies disproportionately on thermal power generation from local gas fields and expensive imported oil to fuel both government and privately owned and rented power plants. Still the poor communities of Pakistan depend on wood and dried dung to heat their homes and in food preparation.

Solar energy has the potential for meeting the energy needs in a number of remote areas of Pakistan. Wind and geothermal sources have also been identified as potential realistic sources of energy. Pakistan is geographically located among one of the best solar isolation areas in the world; it’s also located on a geology related to geothermal activity. Wind has the potential to play a crucial part within the energy supply mix, with wind corridors having been identified for wind park development. The Government of Pakistan through the Meteorological Department has quantified the wind energy generation potential for Pakistan. Hydro-power both as macro and micro projects are well established in Pakistan and are recognised as low cost reliable and renewable sources of power in Pakistan and have the potential to fill the energy deficit.

Pakistan has around 2,350 MW operating nuclear capacity and 1,100 MW is under construction; most of which was developed with China’s help. Nuclear energy power generation contributes about 7 percent to Pakistan’s power generation. China-Pakistan cooperation on this front started during the 1980s with the Chashma project and continues till date with the recent K2 and K3 plants in Karachi. Following the progress, K-2 and K-3 projects are an inescapable necessity for Pakistan. As in recent times, it’s estimated that Pakistan’s energy shortfall lags behind by approx. 4,000 megawatts. This shows that the demand of electricity has by far exceeded the production which impedes the expansion and development. Practically, for enhancing the nuclear energy generating capacity, it’s believed that cheapest way of managing the country’s power woes is by building the K-2 and K-3 nuclear power plants.

The nuclear power plants might just be our primary chance to avoid power starvation and insufficiency. Interestingly, Pakistan was ranked seventh most vulnerable country to be suffering from climate change situation. Given such conditions, developing and depending on a uniform and consistent source of nuclear energy is the best possible way to address the energy shortfall issue in near future. Not only this, it’s a source of continuous supply of unpolluted energy and a more consistent one than others. Considering the advantages that atomic energy provides, K-2 and K-3 that are under construction in Karachi would be the best possible mechanism through which the government is trying to address the deficit and fulfill the increasing energy crisis in Pakistan. Given the severity, Pakistan must also be supported financially by international investors to deal with the expansion of Pakistan’s nuclear energy sector where the country is in dire need to overcome its crippling energy deficit.

Nuclear plants are generally safer than other industrial sectors in Pakistan. From 1960s till date, not even a single mishap has occurred within the nuclear domain of Pakistan. Pakistan on numerous occasions has also declared that it’s proactively engaged with the international community to advocate nuclear safety and security. Pakistan has applied numerous precautionary-cum-safety measures. These measures include the legal, regulatory, institutional, operational, and enforcement procedures within and outside its nuclear power plants. From the past few years, discussion on nuclear energy’s use and spread has been renewed and become acute. Given its energy deficit, Pakistan must indeed look towards atomic energy and is also among the aspirants that focuses on energy security to fulfil socio-economic demands. Ultimately, the plants of K-2 and K-3 are a hopeful chance in addressing Pakistan’s energy challenge.

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