Pakistan To Acquire 3 Nuclear Plants From China Wort $13 billion.

Discussion in 'Pakistan' started by Neo, Feb 7, 2014.

  1. Neo

    Neo Senior Member Senior Member

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    Pakistan To Acquire 3 Nuclear Plants From China Wort $13 billion.​


    ISLAMABAD, Pakistan—The government here is in talks with China to acquire three large nuclear power plants for around $13 billion, officials said, a blow to international efforts to restrict trade in nuclear technology.

    A deal to purchase three reactors would be in addition to last year's agreement for China to build two nuclear plants in Pakistan's southern port of Karachi.

    The reactors would help plug the gap in Pakistan's electricity supply and cement an alliance with China aimed at counteracting their mutual rival India.


    U.S. officials expressed concern at the possibility of a deal, which would bypass international rules against nuclear exports to countries that, like Pakistan, haven't signed the Non-Proliferation Treaty.

    Negotiations are continuing with China "for three more plants," Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif told a cabinet meeting this month, according to those present. The discussions about additional plants had previously not been made public.

    The three Chinese reactors would likely be placed in the center of the country, at Muzaffargarh, in Punjab province, at a site now being prepared, officials said.

    Two other advanced 1,100-megawatt reactors from China are due to be built near the southern port of Karachi, under a $9 billion agreement completed last year. Mr. Sharif led the groundbreaking ceremony for the reactors in November.

    Fixing Pakistan's electricity crisis is a priority for Mr. Sharif, who was elected in May. The energy shortage is a constraint on his effort to boost economic growth and curb violence. Coal-fueled, hydroelectric and nuclear energy plants are all planned to plug the shortfall.

    An international body called the Nuclear Suppliers Group, of which China is a member, is supposed to bar the export of nuclear technology or fuel to countries that have not signed the treaty. Pakistan has nuclear weapons and isn't a signatory.

    Moreover, the scientist behind Pakistan's nuclear weapons program, A.Q. Khan, in 2004 acknowledged sharing the country's nuclear secrets with North Korea and Libya.

    A senior U.S. official said of the latest reactor plan: "This does cause us concerns because of the commitments within the Nuclear Suppliers Group. It is also a U.S.-China issue."

    China says that its nuclear trade with Pakistan predates its membership of the Nuclear Suppliers Group, and is therefore protected. India is also not a signatory to the Non-Proliferation Treaty. The 2005 U.S.-India civil nuclear deal led to India being given an exemption to import nuclear materials by the Nuclear Suppliers Group.

    "The India-U.S. nuclear deal was discriminatory," said Mushahid Hussain, a lawmaker for the opposition Pakistan Muslim League-Quaid and head of the Senate defense committee. "It was meant to prop up India against China."

    Mark Hibbs, an expert on nuclear issues at the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace, an independent research organization based in Washington, said that the Nuclear Suppliers Group was "clearly in a crisis that has continued to escalate" as a result of the trade taking place with India and Pakistan. The rules of the group aren't binding, he said.

    Although the U.S.-India nuclear deal is about power plants, Pakistan sees it as also having military implications.

    The agreement allows India to buy uranium on the international market, freeing up its own uranium for use in its nuclear weapons program. China's unilateral trade with Pakistan provides Islamabad with similar benefits.

    Pakistan produces 12,000 MW to 14,000 MW of electricity, while demand is at least 18,000 MW, the ministry of power says, causing hours of power outages nationwide every day. Demand is set to rise sharply with the ballooning population, which is projected to almost double by 2050.

    Nuclear energy provides just 750 MW of the power, through two existing Chinese 330 MW plants at Chashma, in Punjab province, and a tiny, aged, plant outside Karachi. China is building two more plants of the same size at Chashma, boosting output to 1,400 MW by 2016.

    The plan is to acquire much larger 1,100 MW plants from China, including the two new reactors for Karachi.

    China is the only country willing to supply Pakistan with nuclear plants, and Pakistan is its sole market for nuclear exports, providing an outlet for Beijing's hopes of selling its nuclear technology more widely.

    "It is very difficult for the Pakistan government to get such a full package of support from any other place in the world," said Li Ning, an expert on China's nuclear industry at Xiamen University.

    Ansar Parvez, chairman of the Pakistan Atomic Energy Commission, which builds and runs the country's nuclear plants, said Pakistan aims to generate 8,800 MW of nuclear power by 2030. "When we're talking to the Chinese, we're discussing how to get to 8,800 MW by 2030," said Mr. Parvez.

    We'll continue talking to them until we meet the 2030 target."

    That target requires Pakistan to build six to seven large nuclear plants, including the two already scheduled for Karachi. Each such plant costs $4 billion to $4.5 billion, said Mr. Parvez.

    China's Foreign Ministry didn't respond to a written request for comment on the latest negotiations, nor did state-owned China National Nuclear Corp., which has sold reactors to Pakistan previously.

    A spokeswoman for China's Foreign Ministry, Hua Chunying, defended the countries' nuclear cooperation in December, which she said was in accordance with the countries' international obligations.

    "In the future, the Chinese side wishes to continue offering help to the best of its ability to resolve the electricity-shortage issue," Ms. Hua had said.

    —Brian Spegele in Beijing contributed to this article.

    Source: Pakistan in Talks to Acquire 3 Nuclear Plants From China - WSJ.com
     
    Last edited: Feb 7, 2014
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  3. Neo

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    China commits $6.5 billion for nuclear project in Pakistan
    Projec-t includ-es two reacto-rs with a capaci-ty of 1,100 megawa-tts each. ​


    By Reuters Published: December 24, 2013

    ISLAMABAD: China has committed $6.5 billion to finance the construction of a major nuclear power project in Karachi as it seeks to strengthen ties with its strategic partner, officials said.

    Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif broke ground on the $9.59 billion project last month but officials have provided few details of how they plan to finance it.

    Financing documents seen by Reuters showed China National Nuclear Cooperation (CNNC) has promised to grant a loan of at least $6.5 billion to finance the project which will have two reactors with a capacity of 1,100 megawatts each.

    Two members of the government’s energy team and three sources close to the deal confirmed this. CNNC was not available for comment.

    “China has complete confidence in Pakistan’s capacity to run a nuclear power plant with all checks in place,” said Ansar Parvez, chairman of the Pakistan Atomic Energy Commission which runs the civilian nuclear programme.

    Parvez declined to give more details of the funding but said it would be completed by 2019 and each of the two reactors would be larger than the combined power of all nuclear reactors now operating in Pakistan.

    As part of the deal, China has also waived a $250,000 insurance premium on the loan, said two sources in the Energy Ministry with knowledge of the project. They declined to be identified as they are not authorised to speak to the media about the financing.

    Pakistan and China, both nuclear-armed nations, consider each other close friends and their ties have been underpinned by common wariness of India and a desire to hedge against US influence in South Asia.

    Pakistan sees nuclear energy as key to its efforts to solve power shortages that have crippled its economy. The country generates about 11,000 MW of power while total demand is about 15,000 MW.

    Blackouts lasting more than half a day in some areas have infuriated many citizens and sparked violent protests, undermining an economy already beset by high unemployment, widespread poverty, crime and sectarian and insurgent violence.

    Under its long-term energy plan, Pakistan hopes to produce more than 40,000 MW of electricity through nuclear plants by 2050.

    The United States sealed a nuclear supply deal with India in 2008, irking both China and Pakistan.

    Pakistan wants a similar agreement with the United States but it is reluctant, largely because nuclear scientist Abdul Qadeer Khan admitted in 2004 to transferring nuclear secrets to North Korea, Iran and Iraq.

    “There should be no double standards in terms of civilian nuclear deals,” Parvez said. “Pakistan has energy needs and the building of two new reactors should convince everyone that India’s embargos and restrictions won’t stop us.”

    Proliferation fears

    Pakistan carried out its first nuclear tests in 1998, soon after India conducted tests. Both refuse to join the Nuclear Non-proliferation Treaty, which would oblige them to scrap atomic weapons.

    China has already helped supply two nuclear reactors at the Chashma nuclear power complex in Punjab, while another two are also under construction with Chinese assistance.

    China’s nuclear cooperation with Pakistan has caused unease in Washington, Delhi and other capitals due to fears about commitment to nuclear non-proliferation rules.

    China says its nuclear ties with Pakistan are entirely peaceful and come under International Atomic Energy Agency safeguards. It has not given details of the project’s financing but state media has put its total value at $9.59 billion.

    “Bilateral cooperation in the energy sector is to help ameliorate Pakistan’s energy shortages,” Chinese Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Hua Chunying said on Monday. “This accords with the interests of the Pakistani people.”

    Three prominent physicists recently raised questions about the safety, design and cost of the new reactors in Karachi, sparking a national debate.

    “There is no official information about preparedness for a nuclear accident in Karachi that is available publicly,” said Zia Mian, a Pakistani-American physicist who directs the Project on Peace and Security in South Asia at Princeton University.

    “The only real obstacle that may exist to the new reactors being built is if the citizens of Karachi decide they do not want to live with the risks these reactors create.”

    But Pakistan’s new energy minister has dismissed the critics.

    “Every 1,000 megawatts of electricity produced through nuclear energy saves you $1 billion in oil imports,” Khawaja Asif, the minister for water and power, told Reuters.

    “If critics can give me alternatives and other platforms to raise money for low-cost, clean power, I’m willing to listen.”

    Source: China commits $6.5 billion for nuclear project in Pakistan – The Express Tribune
     

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