Pakistan Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif has inaugurated construction work on two 1100MWe Chinese-designed Hualong One nuclear units at the Karachi Nuclear Power Plant Kanupp II and III.

The foundation was laid in November 2013 for the first of two Chinese-designed ACP1000 units but the reactor design has now been upgraded to the Hualong One. The plant faces considerable opposition and protest from environmental and local organisations.

Pakistan currently has three operable nuclear reactors, which account for around 4% of the country’s total electricity production. Kanupp 1 started up in 1972, and two other nuclear units have been in operation at the Chashma since 2000 and 2011, respectively. Two further units are under construction at Chashma under a long-term cooperation agreement with China.

"It is our top priority to end load shedding," Sharif said. Significant power shortages are reported, and scheduled power-cuts to curb electricity usage is a regular feature.

Pakistan’s total installed capacity is about 20GWe, but often only about 12GWe is operable. A 2005 government Energy Security Plan called for an increase in generating capacity to more than 160GWe by 2030.