The 1,100 megawatt Karachi Nuclear Power Plant Unit-3 (K-3) was connected to the national grid on Friday on a trial basis and its power generating capacity would be enhanced gradually, Pakistan Atomic Energy Commission (PAEC) Director-General Media Shahid Riaz told Narratives Media.
“During the trial run, we usually start by supplying 50 to 60 megawatts of electricity to the national grid and gradually keep on increasing it,” he said. “There is no compromise on safety and there is no haste,” he said.
The trial run is expected to last two to four weeks before the authorities inaugurate the plant officially, he said.
The PAEC in a statement said that the nuclear power plant started operations on February 21, and after safety tests and procedures it has finally been connected to the grid.
“The plant has been connected to the grid on a testing basis and is expected to be inaugurated soon after attaining full power,” it said.
K-3 is the second Nuclear Power Plant (NPP) in Pakistan with a generation capacity of 1,100 MW and its addition to the national grid will help reduce electricity tariff in the country. The K-3 is one of the two similar NPPs located near Karachi. The other one, named K-2 was inaugurated by Prime Minister Imran Khan on May 21, 2021.
The ground-breaking of the project was performed on November 26, 2013, and the construction started after getting approval from the Pakistan Nuclear Regulatory Authority (PNRA). The fuel loading of the plant started in December 2021 after getting clearance from the PNRA.
PAEC is now running six NPPs in the country. Two of them are located in Karachi and are named K-2 and K-3, while four in district Mianwali are named Chashma Nuclear Power Plant Unit 1-4.
Earlier, the collective generation capacity of all PAEC-operated NPPs was over 2,400MWs. The addition of K-3 in the national grid will enhance the generation capacity of nuclear power plants in the country to over 3500MW, substantially improving the overall share of nuclear power in the energy mix.
Nuclear energy is safe, reliable, and an important source of electricity with zero carbon emission besides being economically competitive.
According to experts it is also cost-effective as the per unit cost of electricity generated by the nuclear power plant is around Rs1 compared to Rs14.10 per unit of coal and Rs16 LNG marked in January.
Chairman PAEC Muhammad Naeem congratulated the project’s team and the whole nation on this occasion and hoped that the Atomic Commission will continue to serve the nation by operating its NPPs under the safeguards of International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA).