Pakistan's Large and Growing Civil Nuclear Program

Pakistan's nuclear weapons program gets a lot of global attention. But the country also has a large and growing civil nuclear program which has added over 3,500 MW of low-carbon electricity to the national grid. It also supports a variety of agricultural, biological and medical applications. The program relies  particularly on the expertise and contributions of nuclear scientists trained at the Pakistan Institute of Nuclear Science and Technology (PINSTECH) founded in 1965 by Dr. Ishrat Husain Usmani.  Dr. Usmani graduated from Aligarh Muslim University and later did his doctoral research at London's Imperial College under the supervision of Nobel Laureate Niels Bohr. The entire civilian nuclear program in Pakistan operates under the International Atomic Energy Agency's safeguards.

PINSTECH, Pakistan

Pakistan Nuclear Science and Technology History:  

Pakistan started its nuclear program in the 1950s under the United States’ “Atoms for Peace” program, which was designed to promote peaceful uses of nuclear technology. In 1956, the Pakistani government created the Atomic Energy Commission (PAEC) to lead the new program. The United States gave Pakistan its first reactor—the five megawatt Pakistan Atomic Research Reactor (PARR-1)—in 1962.

During this early period, PAEC chairman Dr. Ishrat Husain Usmani devoted government resources to train the next generation of Pakistani scientists. Usmani founded the Pakistan Institute of Nuclear Sciences and Technology (PINSTECH) in 1965 and sent hundreds of young Pakistani students to be trained abroad.

Nuclear Power Generation:

Pakistan has installed over 3,500 MW of low-carbon nuclear power generating capacity. Nuclear power plants in Pakistan generated 15,540 GWH of electricity in 2021, a jump of 66% over 2020. 

Overall, Pakistan's power plants produced 136,572 GWH of power, an increase of 10.6% over 2020, indicating robust economic recovery amid the COVID19 pandemic.  Nuclear offers the lowest cost of fuel for electricity (one rupee per KWH) while furnace oil is the most expensive (Rs. 22.2 per KWH). 

Construction of two 1,100 MW nuclear power reactor K2 and K3 units in Karachi was completed by China National Nuclear Corporation in 2022, according to media reports. Chinese Hualong One reactors installed in Pakistan are based on improved Westinghouse AP1000 design which is far safer than Chernobyl and Fukushima plants.  

Nuclear Medicine:

Currently, there are 51 nuclear medicine centers in Pakistan, according to National Institutes of Health (NIH). Pakistan Atomic Energy Commission (PAEC) is the largest single contributor with 18 centers spread across the length and breadth of the country, including some remote towns. In terms of radionuclide therapeutic radioiodine for outpatient treatment of hyperthyroidism is more widely available across Pakistan. Inpatient facilities for delivering high-dose are limited, but given the spread of centers across the country, a large extent of the country’s landscape is covered. 

Shaukat Khanum Cancer Hospital founded by former Prime Minister Imran Khan was the first PET-CT service in Pakistan introduced in the private sector in Lahore in 2009. At present 6 PET/CT centers are operational, 2 in Lahore , 4 in Karachi backed by 5 hospital-based cyclotrons (Lahore 2, Karachi 3). 

 A cyclotron is a type of particle accelerator which repeatedly propels a beam of charged particles (protons) in a circular path. Medical radioisotopes are made from non-radioactive materials (stable isotopes) which are bombarded by these protons. In the next 2 to 6 months, first PET/CT with onsite cyclotron is expected to commission in Rawalpindi along with a scanner in Peshawar and Lahore taking the total tally to 9 scanners. A fourth cyclotron is expected to be operational in Karachi in the same period. All cyclotrons are used for F-18 labeled FDG as it remains the work horse of PET imaging. The optimal half-life, simple chemistry, and tons of experience and literature makes it ideal to make a successful enterprise. At present, there is no registry for the utilization of PET-CT across Pakistan; however, institutional clinical experience is increasingly shared at national and international conferences and published in literature, according to the NIH.  

Agriculture Applications:

Pakistan Atomic Energy Commission (PAEC) has established agriculture and biotechnology centers in the country: Nuclear Institute for Agriculture (NIA) at Tandojam, Sindh (1962), Nuclear Institute for Agriculture & Biology (NIAB) (1972), National Institute of Biotechnology & Genetic Engineering (NIBGE) (1994) at Faisalabad, Punjab, and Nuclear Institute for Food & Agriculture (NIFA), in Peshawar, Khyber Pakhtunkhwa (1982). These institutes focus on crop improvement, pest control, livestock health, food and environmental protection, and soil-water and plant nutrition management. 

The research by agriculture and biotech centers has produced several new varieties of wheat, cotton, rice, mung bean, chickpea, lentil, sugarcane, castor bean, kinnow, sesame, tomato, and brassica. These varieties are high-yielding, heat tolerant, insect and disease resistant, and have more nutritional value.

According to a report from the IAEA, mutant varieties of cotton in Pakistan have improved the quality traits of crops. The mutations in the crop varieties have led to “decrease[d] use of pesticides (due to increased disease resistance), a reduction in using fertilizers and consumption of water (due to the highly efficient nutrient intake and better tolerance to drought), superior quality, and higher crop yields,” the report states.

] The new varieties developed now account for 40% of all cotton produced in Pakistan, up from just 25% two years ago and from nonexistent yield in 2016, according to Nuclear NewsWire

International Atomic Energy Agency: 

Recently, the IAEA Director General Rafael Mariano Grossi visited Pakistan to meet with Pakistani officials in charge of the civilian nuclear program. Here's a press release of the IAEA about the visit:

The Islamic Republic of Pakistan and the IAEA will increase collaboration in peaceful applications of nuclear science and technology, particularly in agriculture and medicine, to the benefit of the country and its neighbours. That was the outcome of Director General Rafael Mariano Grossi’s two-day trip to Pakistan this week, during which he met with the country’s leadership — including its Prime and Foreign Ministers — and visited numerous nuclear facilities across the country, some of which he inaugurated.

Mr Grossi began his visit by meeting with Prime Minister Muhammad Shehbaz Sharif. The two spoke about the worsening effects of climate change on Pakistan and how nuclear science and IAEA support is helping the country.

For decades Pakistan has been ranked as one of the 10 most vulnerable countries to climate change, and last summer, was inundated with climate-change linked flooding which caused mass displacement of people and economic damages to the tune of USD 40 billion. The IAEA and Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO), in coordination and consultation with Pakistani authorities developed an emergency support package to assist the country in applying nuclear science to better understand the flood’s impact on soils, crops and the potential spread of animal and zoonotic diseases.

The Prime Minister expressed his desire to strengthen collaboration with the IAEA in agriculture and medicine and his support  to the Agency’s efforts to promote peace and development worldwide. The two also discussed nuclear safety and security Ukraine, where Mr Grossi is championing efforts to establish a protection zone around Ukraine’s Zaporizhzhya Nuclear Power Plant, a facility beset with nuclear safety and security challenges caused by the war in the country.

In a meeting with Foreign Minister Bilawal Bhutto Zardari, Mr Grossi said opportunities for the peaceful use of nuclear science and technology in Pakistan were plentiful, emphasizing how nuclear applications and IAEA initiatives are addressing climate change and issues of access to cancer care. Mr Bhutto Zardari said that Pakistan and the IAEA will further enhance cooperation and grow the role of nuclear applications in dealing with climate change, water, energy and food security.

In Islamabad, Mr Grossi met with the Minister of Planning and Development, Ahsan Iqbal, to discuss the role of nuclear applications in addressing Pakistan’s vulnerability to climate change. The Director General also met with Pakistani fellows of the IAEA Marie Sklodowska-Curie Fellowship Programme, an initiative seeking to help build gender-balanced capacities in the nuclear sector.

Nuclear for energy, food and health

Director General Rafael Mariano Grossi inaugurates the new spent fuel dry storage facility at Chashma Nuclear Power Plant. (Photo: D. Candano/IAEA)

Pakistan currently operates six nuclear power reactors at two sites, that generate about 10 per cent of the country’s total and almost a quarter of its low-carbon electricity. During his trip, Mr Grossi visited one of those sites, Chashma Nuclear Power Plant, 250 kilometres south of Islamabad. Inaugurating the site’s new spent fuel dry storage facility, Mr Grossi highlighted the importance of managing spent fuel safely and securely.

Mr Grossi was welcomed at the Pakistan Institute of Nuclear Science and Technology (PINSTECH), an IAEA partner in work related to human health, nutrition and water analysis. At PINSTECH, Mr Grossi inaugurated a dosimetry laboratory. Mr Grossi also visited the Pakistan Centre of Excellence in Nuclear Security (PCENS), saying he was impressed by the high standard of the facility and that he looked forward to further collaboration.

At the Nuclear Medicine Oncology and Radiotherapy Institute in Islamabad, Mr Grossi inaugurated Cyberknife, a new cancer treatment facility that he described as a milestone for the country. He said Pakistan would be able to support its neighbours with regards to cancer treatment access by becoming a regional centre under Rays of Hope — an IAEA initiative seeking to increase cancer care access in low- and middle-income countries by helping to introduce and improve radiation medicine capacities and build the cancer care workforce.

In Faisalabad, Mr Grossi visited the Nuclear Institute for Agriculture and Biology (NIAB), designating it as an IAEA Collaborating Centre in agriculture and biotechnology. In a special ceremony, Mr Grossi planted a Sago Palm at the site and spoke about the IAEA’s collaboration with the facility in developing climate change resilient cotton varieties. NIAB is also a national laboratory under the IAEA’s ZODIAC initiative for combating zoonotic diseases and future pandemics.

Mr Grossi toured another IAEA Collaborating Centre, the National Institute of Safety and Security, when visiting the Pakistan Nuclear Regulatory Authority and meeting with its Chairman Faizan Mansoor. He was also honoured to inaugurate the National Radiation Emergency Coordination Centre (NRECC) in Islamabad.

Visiting the headquarters of the Pakistan Atomic Energy Commission (PAEC), Mr Grossi had a meaningful exchange with the Commission on the comprehensive and cohesive nature of the country’s peaceful nuclear programme. Mr Grossi's visit to Pakistan was on the invitation of PAEC Chairman Raja Ali Raza Anwar, whom he thanked for Pakistan's hospitality during the two days. The Director General concluded his visit in Islamabad with a seminar on climate change mitigation, during which he highlighted the role of the IAEA in supporting climate-vulnerable countries in addressing the climate crisis with nuclear science and technology.

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Riaz Haq said…
Nuclear Power in the World Today(Updated May 2023)


https://world-nuclear.org/information-library/current-and-future-generation/nuclear-power-in-the-world-today.aspx

Civil nuclear power can now boast more than 18,000 reactor years of experience, and nuclear power plants are operational in 32 countries worldwide. In fact, through regional transmission grids, many more countries depend in part on nuclear-generated power; Italy and Denmark, for example, get almost 10% of their electricity from imported nuclear power.

When the commercial nuclear industry began in the 1960s, there were clear boundaries between the industries of the East and West. Today, the nuclear industry is characterized by international commerce. A reactor under construction in Asia today may have components supplied from South Korea, Canada, Japan, France, Germany, Russia, and other countries. Similarly, uranium from Australia or Namibia may end up in a reactor in the UAE, having been converted in France, enriched in the Netherlands, deconverted in the UK and fabricated in South Korea.

The uses of nuclear technology extend well beyond the provision of low-carbon energy. It helps control the spread of disease, assists doctors in their diagnosis and treatment of patients, and powers our most ambitious missions to explore space. These varied uses position nuclear technologies at the heart of the world's efforts to achieve sustainable development. For more information, see page on Nuclear Energy and Sustainable Development.In 2021 nuclear plants supplied 2653 TWh of electricity, up from 2553 TWh in 2020.

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Asia

Bangladesh started construction on the first of two planned Russian VVER-1200 reactors in 2017. Construction on the second started in 2018. It plans to have the first unit in operation by 2023. The country currently produces virtually all of its electricity from fossil fuels.

China has 55 operable nuclear reactors, with a combined net capacity of 53.3 GWe. In 2021, nuclear generated 5.0% of the country's electricity.The country continues to dominate the market for new nuclear build, with 21 reactors under construction at the end of July 2022. In 2018 China became the first country to commission two new designs – the AP1000 and the EPR. China is marketing the Hualong One for export, a largely indigenous reactor design.The strong impetus for developing new nuclear power in China comes from the need to improve urban air quality and reduce greenhouse gas emissions.India has 22 operable nuclear reactors, with a combined net capacity of 6.8 GWe. In 2021, nuclear generated 3.2% of the country's electricity.

The Indian government is committed to growing its nuclear power capacity as part of its massive infrastructure development programme. The government in 2010 set an ambitious target to have 14.6 GWe nuclear capacity online by 2024. At the end of July 2022 eight reactors were under construction in India, with a combined capacity of 6.7 GWe.

Japan has 33 operable nuclear reactors, with a combined net capacity of 31.7 GWe. As of March 2022, 10 reactors had been brought back online, with a further 15 in the process of restart approval, following the Fukushima accident in 2011. In the past, 30% of the country's electricity has come from nuclear; in 2021, the figure was just 7.2%.

South Korea has 25 operable nuclear reactors, with a combined net capacity of 24.4 GWe. In 2021, nuclear generated 28.0% of the country's electricity.The country has three new reactors under construction domestically and is constructing a four-unit plant in the United Arab Emirates.

Pakistan has six operable nuclear reactors, with a combined net capacity of 3.3 GWe. In 2021, nuclear generated 10.6% of the country's electricity. Pakistan has one Chinese Hualong One unit under construction, which achieved first criticality in February 2022.
Riaz Haq said…
Pakistan’s Khushab nuclear site currently has four heavy water nuclear reactors dedicated to the production of plutonium for nuclear weapons, as well as a heavy water production plant. The facilities were built sequentially over the course of almost 30 years, with the most recent reactor being constructed in 2011. The reactors have slowly increased Pakistan’s supply of weapon-grade plutonium, which, after separation from the irradiated fuel at other sites, allows Pakistan to build more miniaturized, plutonium-based nuclear weapons that complement its existing highly enriched uranium nuclear weapons.

https://isis-online.org/isis-reports/detail/khushab-update/12#:~:text=Pakistan's%20Khushab%20nuclear%20site%20currently,reactor%20being%20constructed%20in%202011.

Riaz Haq said…
Examining accomplishments of Pak civil N programme | By Abdul Basit

https://pakobserver.net/examining-accomplishments-of-pak-civil-n-programme-by-abdul-basit/

Pakistan’s peaceful nuclear program is world-class, supported by the Nuclear Security Index Report. It has a 7-point increase in its score, making it the most improved country in terms of securing weapons-usable nuclear material. Pakistan’s long-standing support for peaceful use of nuclear technology, strategic restraint efforts, nuclear safety and security measures and stringent export control regime place it among the best nuclear programs in the world. The international community, including the US and the International Atomic Energy Agency, has repeatedly appreciated Pakistan’s growing nuclear credentials.

International Collaboration: Pakistan has engaged in international collaboration on nuclear research and development. It has participated in forums like the International Atomic Energy Agency and has sought assistance and support from other countries in developing its nuclear energy sector. On the regional level, Pakistan perceives the Indo-US nuclear deal as challenge to the strategic balance in South Asia and the comes despite India being a non-signatory of NPT. This has led to India entering into nuclear agreements with various countries, potentially undermining regional stability and the equilibrium of nuclear capabilities.

Riaz Haq said…
How Safe Is India's Railway Network? Here's What Experts Say in the Wake of the Odisha Crash
https://time.com/6284837/india-train-accident-odisha-railway-safety/

As India reels from one of its worst train disasters in two decades following a collision on Friday in Balasore, Odisha that killed at least 288 people and injured hundreds more, concerns are mounting over the safety of the country’s railways.

Experts tell TIME that while the Indian government has ramped up spending on railways in recent years, that money has mostly gone toward speed and comfort in the form of new trains. They say that more needs to be done in particular to improve the safety of thousands of older trains that are still in use in India, which has one of the world’s most extensive railway systems.

“Indian trains run on mixed tracks with both passenger and goods trains running on the same track,” Srinand Jha, a railways expert from the International Railway Journal, tells TIME. “The lines are mostly over-utilized and clogged, and because of this, the time available to carry out routine maintenance activity has been shrinking.”

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In recent years, Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s government has invested nearly $30 billion in the railways by manufacturing semi-high-speed trains, modern coaches and locomotives, and redeveloping the stations—part of a broader upgrade to transport infrastructure across the country in a bid to create a $5 trillion economy by 2025. Last year, Modi unveiled the new trains by announcing that “a nationwide campaign is underway to transform railways.”

But Jha says that these “big-ticket railway projects” have also led to an increase in rail travel and, in turn, a bigger need to improve the system through track maintenance and better signaling systems. “These aspects deserve greater attention,” he says.

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A report last year by India’s auditor general found that spending on basic railways maintenance had fallen since 2017, leading to serious lapses in safety.

On Monday, Vishal Tiwari, a lawyer in the Supreme Court, filed a legal petition advocating for an independent expert committee that would conduct a “time-bound probe into the accident.”

“Our petition is not only to investigate the train accident but also to strengthen the railway system through a review of risk and safety parameters in the railways,” Tiwari says. “It’s clear that judicial intervention is needed for transparency and impartiality so that such accidents do not happen due to the gross negligence of any government-run systems.”

Meanwhile, a new homegrown anti-collision technology unveiled in March called the Automatic Train Protection System, or KAVACH (“armor” in Hindi), could help prevent future accidents. “Had the device been on the train, this would not have happened,” Mamata Banerjee, a former railway minister and opposition leader, told local media.
Riaz Haq said…
#Pakistan and #China sign $4.8 billion 1200 MW #nuclear #power plant deal. Work on Chashma 5 project would begin immediately. China's support will help Pakistan make the transition away from reliance on #FossilFuels . #nuclearenergy #electricity
https://www.reuters.com/business/energy/pakistan-china-sign-48-bln-nuclear-power-plant-deal-2023-06-20/

Pakistan and China signed a $4.8 billion deal on Tuesday to build a 1,200-megawatt nuclear power plant, Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif said, hailing the investment by a country that Pakistan views as its most dependable ally.

Work on the Chashma 5 project would begin immediately, Sharif said on state-run news channel PTV following the signing of the memorandum of understanding (MOU) between China National Nuclear Cooperation and Pakistan Atomic Energy Commission.

"Investment from China in this project to the tune of $4.8 billion sends a message loud and clear that Pakistan is a place where Chinese companies and investors continue to show their trust and faith," Sharif said.

The Chashma 5 project will be built in the central province of Punjab. China's support will help Pakistan make the transition away from reliance on fossil fuels.

Pakistan's total nuclear energy production capacity rose to 1,400 mw, when the country's sixth nuclear power plant opened two years ago. Located in the southern port city of Karachi, that 1,100 mw plant was also constructed with Chinese assistance.

Sharif, whose government is desperately struggling to stave off a balance of payments crisis, thanked the Chinese partners for offering a $100-million discount for the latest project.

It is unclear whether the new investment is part of the $65 billion that China has pledged in infrastructure building for Pakistan under its Belt and Road Initiative.

The new project was originally planned to start a couple of years ago, and Sharif expressed thanks to the Chinese side for not rescheduling costs despite the long delay. Instead, he said, the Chinese had disbursed an initial 30 billion Pakistani rupees ($104.53 million) to start the project.
Riaz Haq said…
Pakistan Expanding Nuclear Plant With New Hualong One Reactor

https://www.powermag.com/pakistan-expanding-nuclear-plant-with-new-hualong-one-reactor/


By Darrell Proctor is a senior associate editor for POWER (@POWERmagazine).

China continues to be a world leader in exporting its nuclear power technology. Chinese officials in Pakistan on June 20 signed a memorandum of understanding (MOU) for a $4.8 billion deal with Pakistan’s nuclear energy agency for construction of a new 1,200-MW reactor at the Chashma power complex.

The new unit will be China’s Hualong One, or HPR1000, pressurized water reactor technology.

Pakistan Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif on Tuesday said the country considers China its “most dependable ally.” Sharif, whose country is in the midst of an economic crisis and looking for outside investment in its energy sector, said construction of the Chashma 5 project, located in Punjab province, would begin immediately.

The Chashma complex has four CNP-300 reactors currently in operation, each with 325 MW of generation capacity. The units were developed by China National Nuclear Corp. (CNNC). The first unit came online in 1991; the other units entered commercial operation in 2011, 2016, and 2017, respectively.

Chashma 5 will be built by CNNC subsidiary CNNC China Zhongyuan Engineering Corp., the company said.

Chinese officials recently announced that an HPR1000 has also been proposed for construction at the Bradwell site in the UK. Britain’s Office for Nuclear Regulation and the Environment Agency said they have started a second, technical, phase of the assessment program for the HPR1000.

Chinese Investment
Sharif, speaking Tuesday on Pakistan’s state-run news channel PTV after the signing of the MOU between the Pakistan Atomic Energy Commission and Chinese officials, said, “Investment from China in this project to the tune of $4.8 billion sends a message loud and clear that Pakistan is a place where Chinese companies and investors continue to show their trust and faith.”

The prime minister originally brokered the project during his time as chief minister of Punjab, an office he held three times, most recently from 2013 to 2018. He was elected as Pakistan’s prime minister in April 2022.

Sharif has supported nuclear power as a way to move Pakistan away from fossil fuels. Its most recent nuclear facility, the 2,200-MW Karachi Nuclear Power Plant, also known as KANUPP, in the southern port city of Karachi, commissioned its two reactors in 2021 and 2022, respectively. That facility, featuring two Hualong One Generation III pressurized water reactors, also was built with financial backing from China.

Sharif on Tuesday said the Chashma 5 project was originally planned to start in 2021. He said Chinese officials did not raise the cost of the project from original estimates despite the delay. Officials on Tuesday said China has to date disbursed 30 billion Pakistani rupees ($104.53 million) to start the project.

“We are deeply obliged to [China] President Xi Jinping, and the Chinese leadership for their generous help to Pakistan,” Sharif said. He also recognized Saudi Arabia, United Arab Emirates and Qatar for extending financial support to Pakistan’s government.

Pakistan for years has contended with power outages. Two of the worst incidents occurred in January 2021, and again in January of this year. In 2021, a fault at a power plant brought down the national grid, leading to calls for a massive overhaul of the country’s electricity transmission infrastructure.

A nationwide power outage on Jan. 30 of this year impacted all of Pakistan’s major cities and left millions of people without electricity.

Riaz Haq said…
Pakistan Signs $4.8 Billion Nuclear Power Plant Deal With China

https://www.voanews.com/a/pakistan-signs-4-8-billion-nuclear-power-plant-deal-with-china/7144967.html


Pakistan and China signed a $4.8 billion deal Tuesday to build what would be the seventh Chinese nuclear power plant in the South Asian nation.

The 1,200-megawatt project will be installed in the central Pakistani city of Chashma, where Beijing already has built four nuclear power generation units with a collective output of nearly 1,230 megawatts.

Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif oversaw Tuesday's signing of the memorandum of understanding between China National Nuclear Cooperation and the Pakistan Atomic Energy Commission.

According to the agreement, the Chinese company will employ its HPR 1000 technology, known as HPR1000 or Hualong One, to construct the nuclear power unit. It will be the third facility in Pakistan to feature the HPR 1000, or pressurized water reactor technology.

"Investment from China in this project to the tune of $4.8 billion sends a loud and clear message that Pakistan is a place where Chinese companies and investors continue to show their trust and faith," Sharif said.

He thanked Beijing for offering a more than $100 million discount for what is named the Chashma 5 power plant. The work on the project was initially planned to start a couple of years ago, but Sharif said the Chinese partners had not rescheduled costs despite the long delay.

"This project is part of our energy security plan to diversify the energy mix with a focus on ensuring the provision of cheap electricity to the industry & relief to the common man,” the Pakistani prime minister wrote on Twitter after the ceremony.

Sharif's coalition government is struggling to deal with unprecedented economic challenges facing Pakistan, including a balance of payments crisis.

China has recently also constructed two nuclear power plants in the southern port city of Karachi, each with a 1,100-megawatt generation capacity.

Pakistani officials say the two Chinese-supplied third-generation Hualong One reactors, known as K2 and K3, cost roughly $10 billion. They are equipped with "advanced safety and foolproof security features" and have enhanced Pakistan's nuclear energy production to more than 3,500 megawatts.

"K2 and K3 are fully functional and supply 2,200 megawatts of electricity to the national grid. Similarly, nuclear power plants at Chashma are contributing more than 1,300 megawatts," a PAEC spokesman told VOA on Tuesday.

Canada helped Pakistan build its first nuclear power plant in 1972 in Karachi, producing about 80 megawatts of electricity. It is expected to be shut down soon after having served its purpose for about the full extent of the planned operation.

China maintains close defense and economic relations with staunch ally Pakistan. It has invested more than $20 billion in building road networks, power plants, and ports over the past decade under what is known as the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor, or CPEC.

Officials in both countries say the collaboration, an extension of Beijing's global Belt and Road infrastructure initiative, has created tens of thousands of jobs and ended Pakistan's crippling energy crisis.

Riaz Haq said…
Two Titan submersible passengers were prominent science philanthropists in Pakistan

https://www.nature.com/articles/d41586-023-02100-y

Two of the passengers who died when the Titansubmersible imploded on its way to explore the wreckage of the Titanic in the North Atlantic belonged to a family that are prominent philanthropic funders of science in Pakistan.

Shahzada Dawood, and his son, Suleman Dawood, were part of the Dawood Foundation, which set up a university, girls’ school and museum, all with major focuses on science.

“The tragic loss of father and son is, first and foremost, a human tragedy and a tragedy for the family,” says environmental scientist Adil Najam, who also studies philanthropic giving in Pakistan. “We have also lost someone with a real, personal and abiding interest in science. It is a tremendous loss of a champion for science.”

“This is a huge tragedy for Pakistan,” adds Atta-ur-Rahman, a chemist at the University of Karachi and a former minister for science. “The [Dawood] family has made enormous contributions to education and science during the last five or six decades.”

The Dawood family’s foundation established the Dawood University of Engineering and Technology in Karachi; the Karachi School of Business and Leadership; the MagnifiScience Centre, Pakistan's first contemporary science museum also in Karachi. Dawood public school provides high quality science education for girls, Najam says.

Members of the Dawood family posted a statement to the foundation website about the deaths of Shahzada and Suleman. “We are truly grateful to all those involved in the rescue operations. The immense love and support we receive continues to help us endure this unimagineable loss.” The statement also said: “At this time, we are unable to receive calls and request that support, condolences and prayers be messaged instead.”

Both Rahman and physicist Pervez Hoodbhoy of the Black Hole Institute, a science and cultural centre in Islamabad, say that the Dawood Foundation is a rare example of much-needed science-philanthropy. Many young people are trying to leave Pakistan because of an economic crisis and a lack of opportunities. Around 800,000 people left in 2022 to seek work abroad. Between 400 and 750 people from Pakistan, as well as Egypt and Syria died last week when a boat capsized off the Mediterranean Sea on its way from Libya to Europe, according to media reports.

The Dawood family foundation has tried to address these problems by creating opportunities for science education. Rahman adds that there is much more that needs to be done. “We need to rethink our national policies, so that we can use this huge pool of talent for our own socio-economic development,” he says.
Riaz Haq said…
Top European Research Labs Select Three teams of Secondary school students-- One Each Netherlands, Pakistan and the US--For Own Accelerator Beam Experiments at CERN and DESY


https://home.cern/news/press-release/cern/three-teams-secondary-school-pupils-netherlands-pakistan-and-usa-win-10th


Geneva and Hamburg, 28 June 2023. In 2023, for the second time in the history of the Beamline for Schools competition, the evaluation committee selected three winning teams. The team “Myriad Magnets” from the Philips Exeter Academy, in Exeter, United States, and the team “Particular Perspective”, which brings together pupils from the Islamabad College for Boys, the Supernova School in Islamabad, the Cadet College in Hasanabdal, the Siddeeq Public School in Rawalpindi and the Cedar College in Karachi, Pakistan, will travel to CERN, Geneva, in September 2023 to perform the experiments that they proposed. The team “Wire Wizards” from the Augustinianum school in Eindhoven, Netherlands, will be hosted at DESY (Deutsches Elektronen-Synchrotron in Hamburg, Germany) to carry out its experiment.


Beamline for Schools (BL4S) is a physics competition open to secondary school pupils from all around the world. The participants are invited to prepare a proposal for a physics experiment that can be undertaken at the beamline of a particle accelerator. A beamline is a facility that provides high-energy fluxes of subatomic particles that can be used to conduct experiments in different fields, including fundamental physics, material science and medicine.

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“Congratulations to this year’s winners – may they have good beams, collect interesting data and generally have the time of their lives,” says Christoph Rembser, a CERN physicist at the ATLAS experiment and one of the founders of Beamline for Schools. “Every year I am astonished by how many young people submit very creative, interesting proposals. In 2014, we weren’t sure at all whether this competition would work. Ten years and 16 000 participants later, I am proud to say that it is obviously a resounding success.”

The fruitful collaboration between CERN and DESY started in 2019 during the shutdown period of the CERN accelerators. This year, the German laboratory will host its fifth team of winners.


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The Pakistan team “Particular Perspective” will measure in detail the beam composition of the T10 beamline of the CERN Proton Synchrotron accelerator. The experiment set-up they designed will make it possible to differentiate between different particle species and measure their intensity.

“I am grateful to BL4S for having provided me with an opportunity to represent my country, Pakistan, and its budding community of aspiring physicists. This is a chance for us to experience physics at the highest level and will inspire people with interests similar to ours to reach greater heights,” says Muhammad Salman Tarar from the “Particular Perspective” team.

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The “Wire Wizards” team’s experiment focuses on detector development. The Dutch students designed and built a multi-wire proportional chamber (MWPC), a gas detector able to measure the position of a particle interacting with it, and they plan to characterise it using the electron beam available at DESY.

“The BL4S competition provides us with a unique educational experience that will be a highlight in our time as students,” says Leon Verreijt from the “Wire Wizards” team.

The winners have been selected by a committee of CERN and DESY scientists from a shortlist of 27 particularly promising experiments. All the teams in the shortlist will be awarded special prizes. In addition, one team will be recognised for the most creative video and 10 teams for the quality of physics outreach activities they are organising in their local communities, taking advantage of the knowledge gained by taking part in BL4S.


Riaz Haq said…
China positions Pakistan as nuclear power export springboard


https://asia.nikkei.com/Business/Energy/China-positions-Pakistan-as-nuclear-power-export-springboard2


Experts say Beijing has something to prove with $4.8bn project in struggling nation


KARACHI -- China is accelerating its civil nuclear cooperation with Pakistan, as it seeks export customers in a market dominated by Russia and the West.

A nuclear energy deal Pakistan signed with China in June, reportedly worth $4.8 billion, might appear a curious move on Beijing's part. China has already had a bumpy ride in Pakistan's power business, where coal-operated stations have suffered from a debilitating cash crunch amid the South Asian country's foreign exchange shortage.

Yet experts say the new arrangement is more about China's strategic ambitions than economics.

"China wants to continue to build nuclear power plants in Pakistan to build up a track record for Chinese industry to enter other, perhaps more lucrative and less-captive nuclear power markets," said Mark Hibbs, nonresident senior fellow for the Nuclear Policy Program at the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace.

Under the deal, China will build a 1,200-megawatt plant at the Chashma nuclear power complex in central Pakistan. It will feature what Beijing says is its first indigenous civil nuclear reactor, the Hualong One, a third-generation pressurized water reactor jointly developed by the China National Nuclear Corporation and the China General Nuclear Power Group.

The new unit will be the fifth at the complex, which was built with Chinese assistance and currently feeds 1,230 MW to the national grid.

China previously supplied this type of reactor to a nuclear power station in the southern port city of Karachi. Construction of two units -- which came online in the last couple of years, adding a combined 2,200 MW -- roughly coincided with the setup of the first Hualong Ones in China, at Fuqing.

Including domestic projects, China has become one of the most prolific builders of nuclear plants. But beyond Pakistan, its export plans are largely aspirational, with officials having suggested that by 2030 China could build 30 overseas reactors in countries participating in its Belt and Road Initiative. Last year, China signed a deal to build a nuclear facility in another economically troubled country, Argentina.

"This project is part of our energy security plan to diversify the energy mix with a focus on ensuring the provision of cheap electricity to the industry & relief to the common man," Pakistani Prime Minister Shahbaz Sharif tweeted on June 20 following the nuclear deal, saying the project "will be built with Chinese investment of $3.48 billion."

The prime minister also said China provided a "discount" of $100 million despite facing delays during the tenure of the previous Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf government, led by ousted Prime Minister Imran Khan.

Zongyuan Zoe Liu, a fellow for international political economy at the Council on Foreign Relations, said China does not have much experience exporting nuclear power plants and that President Xi Jinping prioritized foreign reactor sales only after his 2021 pledge at the United Nations General Assembly to stop building overseas coal-fired power projects.

"In this context, it does not make practical sense for Chinese nuclear reactor exporters to charge a high markup," she said. "What is more important for China is to demonstrate to the world that it has indigenous technology for nuclear reactors that are safe, reliable and affordable. This is, in the long run, in China's interest to compete with other nuclear power exporters in the global markets."

Carnegie's Hibbs said the Hualong One "will likely become the standard light-water reactor for China's continued nuclear power development, but also a flagship for China's influence in the global marketplace and in multilateral governance over nuclear power."

Riaz Haq said…
China positions Pakistan as nuclear power export springboard


https://asia.nikkei.com/Business/Energy/China-positions-Pakistan-as-nuclear-power-export-springboard2




Chinese cooperation has been and will be instrumental in helping Pakistan overcome chronic energy woes. Beijing has helped build energy facilities, mostly coal-fired power plants and hydropower projects, under its $50 billion China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC), the Pakistani component of the Belt and Road Initiative.

But costly fuel imports, including coal for BRI power plants, coupled with rupee devaluation, have weighed heavily on Pakistan's dollar reserves and contributed to a balance of payments crisis that forced it to strike an 11th-hour bailout deal with the International Monetary Fund on Friday.

Pakistan defaulted on dues to Chinese-operated coal plants totaling $1.5 billion. The plants have been unable to import coal, and thus many have stopped operating. New coal power projects have also been shelved, apart from a recently re-approved one in the port city of Gwadar, the centerpiece of CPEC.

Nevertheless, Hibbs explained that "China has a supply chain and workforce in place in Pakistan for Hualong One, and without new foreign contracts elsewhere, China wants to keep these assets active."

Aside from the economic question marks, however, China's cooperation with Pakistan also raises eyebrows among the Nuclear Suppliers Group, a voluntary organization of 48 countries that conduct civilian nuclear trade under strict guidelines. Pakistan is not a signatory to the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty and conforms to only facility-specific safeguards of the International Atomic Energy Agency -- as opposed to the full-scope safeguards that allow the IAEA to inspect both civil and military nuclear facilities required for nuclear trade.

China says that its ongoing exports to Pakistan are "grandfathered" by agreements dating back years before China's entry into the NSG in 2004, although NSG members assert that exports after entry should conform to the full-scope rule.
Riaz Haq said…
Athar Osama PIF Facebook post

Today we embark upon a 6-month long learning journey with 60 Pakistani Teachers and 6 Indonesian Teacher Trainers on Holistic Science Teaching.

This is an innovative approach to Teaching Science in a manner that is connected with other branches of knowledge such as History, Philosophy, Ethics, Religion and the Liberal Arts being piloted, to our knowledge, for the first time in the Muslim World.

Over 3 years, we will 6 workshops in Pakistan, Indonesia, and the Arab World - very different cultures, education systems, languages but the same objective: Train Teachers to create Curious Classrooms!

6-8 Grade Science Teachers may register to attend a future workshop at
http://pif.org.pk/scienceteaching/


World Science Collaborative Ltd, in collaboration with, Lahore University of Management Sciences (LUMS), The Aga Khan University – Institute of Education Development (AKU-IED), South East Asian Ministerial Organisation (SEAMEO), Indonesia, and Qatar University, Qatar, as well as partners Khawarzimi Science Society (KSS), Lahore; Pakistan Innovation Foundation, Pakistan, and STEMx – STEM School for the World, Islamabad presents a unique workshop to enable teachers to explore and learn how to teach science holistically.

In our society, teaching of science is often extremely siloed and compartmentalised whereby the science teacher delivers the content in the classroom but does not relate what is being taught to the real world nor brings forth (or draws upon) the diverse body of knowledge available in disciplines such as history, philosophy, religion and ethics. In doing so, he/she runs the risk, at the very least, of leaving the scientific learning unconnected, or much worse, leaving the students more confused than informed.

It is absolutely critical, therefore, to teach science holistically i.e. connect the learning in the classroom with the real world, for example, by:

* Bringing together knowledge from diverse sources and disciplines such as science, history, philosophy, religion, and ethics?

* Using hands-on experiments and play to bring inspiration and insight in the science classroom?

* Planning lessons that adequately address the curious minds of students and encourage critical inquiry?

* Addressing Big Philosophical Questions that stem from scientific discoveries such as Big Bang, Multiverses, Genetics, Evolution, Artificial Intelligence, etc.

The Holistic Teaching of Science Workshop is OPEN to ALL Teachers of Science in Middle School (Grades 6-8) at any public, private, or religious (madrassa) school who struggles with teaching modern science in the classroom and wants to do better.

The Holistic Science Teaching Online (Hybrid) Workshop is 1 of 6 Workshops that will be carried out in Pakistan, Indonesia, and Qatar between Dec 2022 and July 2025.
Riaz Haq said…
Pakistan’s PM Shehbaz Sharif launches US$3.5 billion Chinese-designed nuclear energy project

https://www.scmp.com/news/asia/south-asia/article/3227776/pakistans-pm-sharif-launches-us35-billion-chinese-designed-nuclear-energy-project

The two countries had already signed an agreement to construct a state-of-the-art Hualong One reactor
China also gave US$5 billion loan to Pakistan to help it unlock a bailout from the IMF



Pakistan’s Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif on Friday launched the construction of a 1,200-megawatt Chinese-designed nuclear energy project, which will be built at a cost of US$3.5 billion as part of the government efforts to generate more clean energy in the Islamic nation.
The ceremony to mark the project’s start comes less than a month after Pakistan signed an agreement with China’s National Nuclear Corporation Overseas in the capital, Islamabad, to construct a Hualong One reactor – a third-generation nuclear reactor and is considered safer because of the latest security features.
Pakistan and China are long-time allies. Pakistan’s relations with Beijing are so close that its leadership calls China their “Iron Brother.” China is also building roads, bridges, power plants, and railways to link its far west with the Chinese-built port of Gwadar on the Indian Ocean.
Riaz Haq said…
China Begins Construction of Pakistan's Largest Nuclear Power Plant

https://www.voanews.com/a/china-begins-construction-of-pakistan-s-largest-nuclear-power-plant-/7181016.html


Pakistan held a groundbreaking ceremony Friday for what will be its largest civil nuclear power plant — constructed by China — that will contribute 1,200 megawatts of electricity daily to the national grid and is estimated to cost at least $3.5 billion.

Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif and senior Chinese officials attended the televised event in the central city of Chashma, dubbed the birthplace of China-Pakistan nuclear energy cooperation.

Over the past 30 years, Beijing has installed four nuclear power generation units in Chashma, collectively generating about 1,300 megawatts, with China providing enriched uranium for fuel.

"This mutual cooperation to promote clean, efficient, and comparatively cheaper energy is a gift of friendship between the two countries and a model for other countries to emulate," Sharif said at the ceremony.

The plant, known as Chashma-5, or C-5, will feature what China says is its domestically developed third-generation pressurized water nuclear technology, the Hualong One or HPR1000, with "advanced safety and foolproof security features."

Raja Ali Raza, the head of the Pakistan Atomic Energy Commission, said the nuclear plant project will be completed by 2030.

"C-5 will be Pakistan's largest generation-III plus nuclear power project," Raza said. "This project has brought PAEC one step closer to its envisaged goal of production of 8,800 megawatts electric cheap and clean energy."

Beijing has previously supplied the HPR1000 technology for two nuclear power stations, each with a 1,100-megawatt generation capacity, built and operationalized in the last couple of years in the southern port city of Karachi, enhancing Pakistan's nuclear energy production to more than 3,500 megawatts a day.

Analysts see China's accelerated civil nuclear cooperation with Pakistan as part of efforts to globally find more lucrative buyers for its HPR1000 reactors developed by state-owned China National Nuclear Corporation or CNNC, the country's second-largest nuclear power producer company.


"HPR1000 is a homegrown nuclear technology of CNNC and a flagship of China's advanced equipment manufacturing," Yu Jianfeng, the CNNC chairman, told the ceremony. He noted that more than 17 units of HPR1000 are currently under construction in China.

"Today's groundbreaking for the C-5 project is a significant milestone for HPR1000's global journey and a new start for the China-Pakistan nuclear energy cooperation," Yu stated. "Our cooperation in nuclear energy has become an integral part of the China-Pakistan all-weather strategic cooperative partnership and a shining example of international nuclear energy cooperation."

Under its global Belt and Road Initiative, Beijing also has built and put into commercial operation 14 mostly coal-fired power plants in Pakistan in the last 10 years, with a total installed capacity of 8,000 megawatts daily.

The projects are part of the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor, or CPEC, which has also built road networks, highways, ports, and industrial zones with direct Chinese investment and "soft loans," expected to increase to about $62 billion by 2030 when the mega undertaking is due to be complete.

Critics blame CPEC for contributing to Pakistan's deepening economic troubles and depleting foreign exchange reserves, making it difficult for the country to catch up with its foreign debt repayments.

Pakistan owes more than $1.3 billion (350 billion rupees) to Chinese power plants. The amount keeps growing, and China has refused to defer or restructure the payment and CPEC debt repayments.
Riaz Haq said…
Pakistan sets up center to boost agricultural growth with $500 million Saudi assistance


https://www.arabnews.pk/node/2333736/pakistan


The center will work in collaboration with Saudi Arabia, the UAE, Qatar, Bahrain and China on various projects

It aims to enhance modern agro-farming in Pakistan by utilizing over 9 million hectares of uncultivated state land

ISLAMABAD: Pakistan has established a Land Information and Management System, Center of Excellence ((LIMS-CoE) to enhance modern agro-farming by utilizing over 9 million hectares of uncultivated state land, a senior official said on Thursday, adding that Saudi Arabia provided an initial $500 million investment to set up the facility.
Pakistan, an agriculture-based economy contributing 23 percent to the GDP and employing 37.4 percent of the labor force, faces recurrent economic hardships. Currently, the productivity remains below par, with a decreasing cultivation area, a population-production gap, and agricultural imports amounting to $10 billion.
According to the World Food Program, around 36.9 percent of Pakistanis are food insecure, with 18.3 percent experiencing severe food crises. The country faces a shortfall of 4 million metric tons in wheat production against a total demand of 30.8 million metric tons, while cotton production has fallen by 40 percent to around 5 million bales in the last decade.
“As far as the high efficiency irrigation system is concerned, Saudi Arabia has already given us [Pakistan] $500 million,” Maj. Gen. Shahid Nazeer, who heads the LIMS-CoE, told reporters at a briefing on Thursday.
“Aimed at enhancing modern agro-farming utilizing over 9 million hectares of uncultivated waste state land, LISM-CoE has been established under the Director General Strategic Projects of Pakistan Army.”
The state-of-the-art system will revolutionize means to steer agricultural development through real-time information about land, crops, weather, water resource and pest-handling under one roof, according to the official.
The center will work in collaboration with Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates, Qatar, Bahrain and China on various agri projects to enhance Pakistan’s exports.
“In the next 3-4 days, a very high-powered Saudi delegation is coming to Pakistan to explore this kind of investment in four major sectors including agriculture, mines and minerals, information technology (IT) and defense production,” he said, adding this would be done under the umbrella of the Special Investment Facilitation Council (SIFC) that was recently established to revive the Pakistani economy.
Nazeer said the LIMS-CoE was aimed at ensuring food security and optimizing agricultural production in Pakistan through innovative technologies and precise, sustainable agricultural practices based on agro-ecological potential of the land, while ensuring the well-being of rural communities and environment preservation.
“The main objectives of the center included consolidation and reclamation of uncultivated waste land, optimal decision; what and where to grow, development of a master plan for modern farming, implementation of state-of-the-art agriculture management practices, practicing agro-intelligence for digital and precision agriculture, better utilization of technology to enhance yield and effective decision support system,” he explained.
The LIMS-CoE recently initiated modern agri-farming projects in Punjab, according to the official. Efforts were being made to use certified hybrid seeds with concurrent development involving joint ventures with multi-national companies, which could pay rich dividends. In agriculture and gardening, a hybrid seed is produced by deliberately cross-pollinating plants that are genetically diverse.
“Hybrid seed gives 30-50 percent more yield, world is using 80 percent hybrid seed, while Pakistan currently uses only 8 percent of hybrid seed,” he added.

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