Nuclear power plants near Karachi?


Ammar Muzaffar

Many people may appreciate that the Pakistan Atomic Energy Commission (PAEC), in collaboration with the China National Nuclear Corporation (CNNC), has taken another tangible measure to overcome the crippling energy crisis in the country by building KANUPP 2 – (K2), the largest power plant in the country, located near the Paradise Point in Karachi. However, placing a nuclear power plant so close to a heavily populated city like Karachi, does pose several large-scale threats, both accidental and ecological.
With a capacity to generate 1100MW of electricity upon completion, this costly project being built with an investment of 10 Billion US Dollars, surely promises substantial relief to the energy-starved citizens of this metropolitan city. However, several civil society organizations have been expressing serious apprehensions about the use of nuclear power technologies near mega cities like Karachi, due to the myriad environmental threats and public-health hazards, posed by any possible accidents, negligence or sabotage at such sensitive projects.
Being a concerned citizen of Karachi, I would like to urge the energy authorities to ensure public safety against pilferage and leakage of radio-active substances from the nuclear plants. It is alarming for me to note, that the existing ‘Evacuation Plan’ of the K2 project is restricted to only 5 KM of area around the project, which is dangerously inadequate. Because some analysts and critics of the K2 project have already warned that; “The entire city and its ecosystem is at risk of exposure to nuclear-radiation from these projects. Any accident or negligence at this project may lead to the spread of fatal levels of radiation across Karachi, and these threats should have been cautiously and comprehensively addressed, by the Sindh Environment Protection Agency (SEPA), before it granted the approval of this venture. It is apparent that the numerous concerns and hazard-warnings raised by the social activists have been somewhat ignored, during the approval process, because the government is also planning a third nuclear project in the same vicinity – The Kanupp-3.
So, first of all, a more comprehensive ‘Evacuation Plan’ for these projects must be devised to save the city from the possible WRATH of nuclear technology. The concerned authorities must realize that the ‘Environmental Impact Assessment’ (EIA) reports of such nuclear projects clearly raise some ‘Red flags’, due to possible threats and consider the history of a few major catastrophes around some major cities of the world. Thus, immaculate measures of safety must be ensured at all such nuclear facilities.

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