1. Pakistan’s third nuclear power reactor began commercial operation today. The Chashma Nuclear Power Plant unit 2, also known as CHASNUPP-2, is a 300 MWe pressurized water reactor located near Chashma Barrage on the left bank of the River Indus. Construction on the unit began late in 2005 and it was grid connected on 14 March this year. Pakistani and Chinese teams delivered the project three months ahead of schedule.
Pakistan currently has a small nuclear fleet consisting of three reactors with a net capacity of 725 MWe. However, it has plans to expand on this with at least two more reactors planned for the same site, and a total nuclear capacity of 8800 MWe by 2030. This is part of a much more ambitious program that would see an increase in generation from all sources from 20 GWe in 2006 to over 160 GWe by 2030.
Energy-hungry developing nations such as China, India, Mexico and Iran are moving forward on plans to build more nuclear plants, even as authorities around the world intensify safety inspections of existing plants after Japan’s March 11 disaster.
“We’re not going to stop eating for fear of choking,” Chinese nuclear safety official Tian Jiashu was quoted in state media as saying after the Japanese disaster.
Iran says it is determined to build a 20-reactor nuclear network across the country.
In Britain, the government’s climate advisory panel said this week that the country should considering investing more — not less — in nuclear power as it “appears likely to be the most cost-effective form of low-carbon power generation” in coming years. The panel’s report envisioned more than doubling Britain’s dependence on nuclear energy to 40 percent, and played down risks of a Fukushima-like crisis.
Prime Minister Naoto Kan announced Tuesday that Japan will scrap its plans to raise that to 50 percent by 2030. Japan will promote renewable energy such as solar and wind and further step up conservation. Japan — already grappling with electricity shortages with several nuclear plants taken off line — is likely to turn to oil and natural gas to meet the energy shortfall. That could mean higher energy prices globally.