Plant will become third in country to use Beijing’s domestically developed Generation III technology
Pakistan has begun construction of its seventh commercial nuclear power plant, the China supplied Chasnupp-5 (also known as Chasma-5).
Prime minister Shehbaz Sharif and senior Chinese officials attended a televised groundbreaking ceremony for the plant in the central city of Chashma on Friday (14 July).
Press reports said the new plant is estimated to cost at least $3.5bn (€3.1bn).
The plant will become the third in Pakistan to use China’s domestically developed Generation III pressurised water nuclear technology, the Hualong One or HPR1000.
China has already supplied two Hualong One units for the Kanupp, or Karachi, nuclear power station, west of the city of Karachi in southern Pakistan.
In April 2022 Kanupp-3 became the world’s fourth Hualong One unit to achieve commercial status and the second outside China. A sister unit, Kanupp-2, began commercial operation in May 2021.
China has supplied every unit in Pakistan’s seven-unit nuclear fleet.
Project ‘To Be Completed By 2030’
The Chasnupp site is already home to four Chinese-supplied CNP-300 pressurised water reactors, which began commercial operation between 2000 and 2017.
Last month press reports said Pakistan and China had signed a memorandum of understanding regarding the development of a new reactor unit at Chashnupp. If confirmed, the unit would be the sixth at the site.
Raja Ali Raza, the head of the Pakistan Atomic Energy Commission, said the project will be completed by 2030.
“C-5 will be Pakistan’s largest Generation-III plus nuclear power project,” Raza said. “This project has brought PAEC one step closer to its envisaged goal of production of 8,800 megawatts electric cheap and clean energy.”
Voice of America said China’s accelerated civil nuclear cooperation with Pakistan is seen as part of efforts to globally find more lucrative buyers for its Hualong One plants, developed by state-owned China National Nuclear Corporation or CNNC, the country's second-largest nuclear power producer company.
“The HPR1000 is a homegrown nuclear technology of CNNC and a flagship of China's advanced equipment manufacturing,” Yu Jianfeng, the CNNC chairman, told Friday’s ceremony.
He said more than 17 HPR1000 units are under construction in China, although the International Atomic Energy’ Agency’s nuclear reactor database outs the number at 10, with 21 plants under construction in total.
China’s state-run China Daily newspaper reported CNNC as saying the Chasnupp-5 project “enhances the influence of China’s nuclear power technology worldwide”.
China has two Hualong One units in commercial operation at the Fuqing nuclear station in Fujian province, southeastern China.