Islamabad, Nov 12: Pakistan plans to purchase two atomic power plants with a combined capacity of 2,000 MW from China despite concerns expressed by the West over nuclear cooperation between the two countries.
The new plants will be installed at the Karachi Nuclear Power Plant complex to address the country's energy crisis.
The China National Nuclear Corporation (CNNC) and Pakistan Atomic Energy Commission are likely to enter into an agreement for a joint study to finalise design modifications for the new plants, The Express Tribune quoted official documents as saying.
After completion of the joint study, a contract for establishing Kanupp-2 and Kanupp-3 will be negotiated. Pakistan's Planning Commission has said CNNC should be asked to grant intellectual property rights for the plants and suggest steps that could help the country avoid violation of property rights.
Pakistan and China signed an agreement in 2009 to set up two nuclear power plants at the Chashma complex in Punjab despite concerns expressed by the West that the deal violated international nuclear regulations.
These plants are expected to be completed by 2016-17. Prime Minister Yousuf Raza Gilani inaugurated a nuclear plant built with Chinese assistance at the Chashma site in May and said the two new plants were “already under construction”.
Over the past few years, Pakistan has lobbied with the US and other major powers for a civil nuclear deal similar to the one with India.
Islamabad has contended that the Indo-US civil nuclear deal has affected the strategic balance in the region.
The US has begun negotiations with Pakistan on the issue but made it clear that a nuclear deal cannot be cleared immediately due to concerns about proliferation linked to the clandestine ring operated by atomic scientist A Q Khan, who supplied know-how and atomic technology to countries like Libya and North Korea.
In the face of lack of cooperation from the US, China has stepped in to provide Pakistan both atomic technology and plants.
In an attempt to increase power generation, the Pakistan government is focussing on developing nuclear energy.
The Energy Security Action Plan envisages increasing the share of nuclear power to 8,800 MW by 2030.