The Chasma [Chashma] Nuclear Power Plant [CHASNUPP] project was initiated in the 1970s with French assistance, with primary work in Central Punjab conducted by the French firm Saint Gobain. The a 137 MW(e) project was terminated by France in 1978. The French decision was based on the failure of Pakistan to sign the NPT and accept safeguards on its entire nuclear program.
As part of this project, France agreed to supply Pakistan a reprocessing plant. In response to American pressure, France and Pakistan eventually agreed that reprocessing plant would be placed under international safeguards. The IAEA accepted the application for this facility in February 1976. By the time France decided to terminate assistance to Pakistan, at least some important technological information had already been transferred to Pakistan. Neither the small New Labs reprocessing facility nor the larger one at Chasma are under IAEA safeguards. Prior to Pakistan's 1998 nuclear tests, US officials downplayed Pakistan's reprocessing capabilities, suggesting that the reprocessing plant at Chasma as "an empty shell" -- but after the tests sources claimed that know-how which had been provided to Pakistan was "very considerable."
The project subsequently resumed as a cooperative project between Pakistan and the China Nuclear Energy Industry Corporation (CNEIC). The 300 MWe nuclear power station was based on a design by the China National Nuclear Corporation that replicated China's first indigenous reactor, Qinshan-1, though the design was subjected to repeated changes. The first concrete was poured on 01 August 1993, and primary construction of CHASNUPP was completed in late 1995, paving the way for equipment installation and construction of ancillary facilities. The Chasma nuclear power plant began operations in November 1999. CHASNUPP) was connected to a power grid on 14 June 2000. The Karachi Electric Supply Company, which had been receiving power from KANUPP since 1972, started receiving power from CHASNUPP.
Three of Pakistan's nuclear reactors (the KANUPP power reactor in Karachi and the PARR I and PARR II research reactors near Islamabad) are covered by IAEA safeguards; the Chasma power plant will be covered as well.
In November 2003 it was reported that China would sign an agreement to build another 300 megawatt nuclear reactor in Pakistan. This would be the second reactor to be built with China`s cooperation at Chashma in southern Pakistan. The agreement between the two countries was to be signed during President General Pervez Musharraf`s on-going China visit. The construction work on the project would be completed within six years.
On 04 May 2004 Pakistan and China sign an agreement to build the second nuclear power plant. The deal was signed by Pakistan Prime Minister Zafarullah Jamali. The plant will be built next to the first Chinese supplied plant, which became operational in 1999 at Chashma. The projected cost is about $600 million and will be completed by 2010.
Sources and Resources
- Pakistan's Chashma Nuclear Power Plant by Zia Mian and A.H. Nayyar PU/CEES Report No. 321, December,1999 [PDF]
- U.S. Now Believes Pakistan to use Khushab Plutonium in Bomb Program By Mark Hibbs Nucleonics Week, 16 July, 1998
- Facility Information for CHASNUPP 1 in the INSC Database
- Facility Information for CHASNUPP 2 in the INSC Database
- Pakistan Nuclear Station Construction Completed : FBIS-CHI-95-235 : 6 Dec 1995 : Beijing ZHONGGUO XINWEN SHE, 1025 GMT 6 Dec 95
- "Chashma Power Plant" Karachi Business Recorder 22 Aug 97 p 2 [Pakistan: Editorial Welcomes Chashma Nuclear Power Plant Opening : FBIS-NES-97-236: 24 Aug 1997]
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