Pakistan launches unit 3 at Karachi NPP

8 February 2023

Unit 3 at Pakistan’s Karachi NPP (KANUPP) in Sindh province has been inaugurated by Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif. This is the second China-supplied 1,100 MWe Hualong One reactor to begin operation at KANUPP. The new unit represents an investment of $2.7bn and was built as part of the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC) initiative.

Contracts for KANUPP 2&3 were signed in 2013 and construction of KANUPP 2 began in 2015 followed by construction of KANUPP 3 in 2016. KANUPP 2 was commissioned in March 2021. KANUPP 3 was first connected to the grid in March 2022. The Hualong One (HPR1000) is a Generation III+ three-loop pressurised water reactor based on China General Nuclear Power Group’s ACPR-1000 reactor, and China National Nuclear Corp’s (CNNC’s) ACP-1000 model.

Sharif noted that Pakistan “badly needs” cleaner and less-costly sources of energy and is looking to increase its nuclear power, hydropower, and renewable energy resources. IAEA Director General Rafael Mariano Grossi, in a video message during the ceremony, said the new reactor is important to support Pakistan’s energy supply, and to promote clean energy in the fight against climate change.

Fossil fuel-powered generation, including coal, natural gas, and oil, supplies more than 60% of Pakistan’s electricity. Hydropower supplies 20% and nuclear around 10%, according to government figures.

KANUPP began operation in 1972, with a single 137 MWe Candu pressurised heavy-water reactor supplied by Canadian General Electric Co. KANUPP 1 unit operated at reduced capacity after reaching its 30-year design life in 2002. It closed down in 2021 and is now being decommissioned.

Pakistan’s current installed nuclear power generation capacity is 3,530 MWe. As well as the two reactors at Karachi, there are four units at Chashma NPP in Punjab, including two 325MWe reactors, and two 340 MWe reactors. Officials at the Pakistan Atomic Energy Commission (PAEC) have said they want to add another two reactors at Karachi, possibly South Korean APR-1400 units. A fifth unit planned for Chashma will be another Hualong, after PAEC and CNNC signed a contract in January. PAEC also is planning two 1,400 MWe units at a site in Muzaffargarh, Punjab.

Image: Pakistan's Prime Minister Muhammad Shehbaz Sharif at the inauguration ceremony for unit 3 of the Karachi nuclear power plant (courtesy of APP/TZD/ABB)

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