Islamabad: Pakistan has completed the loading of fuel at its Chinese-assisted Karachi Nuclear Power Plant Unit-3 to celebrate three decades of cooperation with its all-weather ally China, according to a media report here on Saturday.

Pakistani authorities, after getting a formal permit from the Pakistan Nuclear Regulatory Authority (PNRA), completed the fuel loading process of the second 1,100-megawatt nuclear power plant on Friday, the state-run Associated Press of Pakistan (APP) reported.

It said that the ceremony to mark three decades of cooperation between China and Pakistan in the field of peaceful use of nuclear energy as well as of the fuel loading of Karachi Nuclear Power Plant Unit-3, commonly known as K-3, was attended by top officials of nuclear energy related organisations from the two countries.

The report said that K-3 is in the final stages of commissioning and after operational and safety tests, the plant is expected to begin commercial operation by the end of March 2022.

A new era in the nuclear power development programme of Pakistan commenced with the signing of the ‘Agreement for Cooperation in Peaceful Uses of Nuclear Energy’ between the governments of China and Pakistan in 1986, according to the report.

However, the first concrete step in the remarkable journey was taken 30 years ago when China National Nuclear Corporation (CNNC) and Pakistan Atomic Energy Commission (PAEC) signed the contract for construction and installation of a 325-megawatt Pressurised Water Reactor (PWR) at Chashma on December 31, 1991, it said.

The cooperation strengthened with the construction of three more nuclear power plants at Chashma Nuclear Power Generation Station (CNPGS) site.

The contract for the construction of two more units having a generation capacity of 1,100 megawatts each near Karachi was signed on February 18, 2013. These units are called Karachi Nuclear Power Plant Unit-2 and 3 (K-2 and K-3).

After the groundbreaking of K-2 and K-3 in November 2013, the construction of K-3 was formally started.

Despite the COVID-19 pandemic, both Pakistan and China faced all odds and continued the construction work. K-2 successfully started commercial operation on May 21, 2021, and now K-3 is expected to do so by the end of March 2022.

K-2 and K-3 are pressurised water reactors based on the Chinese ACP-1000 design and are generation-three plants equipped with advanced safety features.

With the connection of K-2 and K-3 into the national grid, the share of nuclear power in the energy mix of Pakistan will exceed 10 per cent, according to the report.

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