Islamabad, Apr 14: China is learnt to have assured Pakistan all help and support to set up at least four new nuclear power plants to meet its "growing energy demands".
In case an agreement is inked between the two countries on nuclear energy cooperation, the two new nuclear power units of 320 MW each would be established at Chashma and Karachi, reported The Nation. The request was formally made by Pakistan President Pervez Musharraf during his recent visit to China, where he reportedly held extensive talks with the top Chinese leadership on the vital issue
"Islamabad's request for more Chinese nuclear power reactors is meant to bridge the widening gap between the demand and supply of energy. The Chinese friends have been asked to help Pakistan establish at least four more nuclear power plants of nearly 1300 MW and their response was positive," the paper quoted a senior Pakistani official as saying here last evening.
He said that Islamabad and Beijing would now carry forward the dialogue on important issues in the weeks to come that could lead to the finalisation of landmark accord between the two sides.
Islamabad and Beijing, the friendly neighbouring states, have been engaged in nuclear energy cooperation for many years. It was back in 2000 when the first reactor of Chashma Nuclear Power Complex was commissioned. A Chinese company has been working on the second phase of that plant after the two sides signed a contract to jointly launch the project in 2004.
Currently Pakistan depends mainly on hydel power generation to meet its energy needs, but its power generation had dropped considerably because of water shortage in the country. "Hence Pakistan is now in the process of exploring coal, nuclear, wind and solar energy resources to increase its power generation," the official said and added: "Presently, the country is facing a power shortage of 1,500MW to 2,000MW and it is feared to grow alarmingly if timely steps like installation of more nuclear power plants are not taken to improve the situation."