PAEC achieves another milestone

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FRIDAY witnessed two significant events that reflected the depth and multi-dimensional nature of relationship between Pakistan and its sincere and trusted friend China. Wide-ranging discussions between Foreign Minister Kh Muhammad Asif in Beijing with his Chinese counterpart were highly reassuring in the sense that the two countries agreed to stand united in the face of changing regional and global scenario that presents challenges to both of them but more so to Pakistan. And at Chashma Prime Minister Shahid Khaqan Abbasi inaugurated fifth nuclear power plant of the country (C-4), built with Chinese assistance, which would add 340 MW to the national grid.
Successful completion of C-4 despite financial constraints and technological curbs by the US-led West is a tribute not only to the time-tested friendship of Pakistan and China but also to Pakistan Atomic Energy Commission, which is moving ahead to realize the target of 8,800 MW of nuclear power to the system by 2030. Leadership of the Commission and its engineers, scientists and technicians deserve to be lauded for this otherwise miraculous achievement in an extremely hostile environment. It is all the more important that the Prime Minister announced construction of two new nuclear power plants – one at Chashma and the other at Muzaffargarh to help achieve the target assigned to PAEC within the given timeframe, rather earlier if we steadfastly pursued the course. Timely accomplishment of the project, like previous nuclear power plants, is important as it would help overcome the menace of load-shedding and the Government, as committed by the Prime Minister, will, hopefully be able to get rid of it before end of November 2017. It is also encouraging that PAEC has acquired sufficient expertise and experience in operating nuclear power plants with international standard safety and security that is significant in the backdrop of consistent propaganda campaign unleashed by detractors of Pakistan. We have also been advocating in these columns that Pakistan should attack priority to the nuclear power programme as it is environment friendly and contributes towards self-reliance and energy security. It would also be in the fitness of things if an indigenous research and development programme is initiated to develop capability for manufacturing of small and medium size nuclear power plants that could serve as standalone arrangement for different geographical regions.