Grid Connection of Chasnupp-4 in Pakistan
World Nuclear Industry Status Report (WNISR), 5 July 2017
On 29 June 2017, the 4th unit at the Chasnupp (Chashma Nuclear Power Plant) in Pakistan was connected to the grid. Construction started at the Chinese designed reactor in December 2011 and follows a similar project completion, unit 3, in 2016. This is the 5th nuclear reactor in Pakistan. In 2016, nuclear supplied just 4 percent of the country’s electricity.
Chasnupp-4 is only the second reactor in the world to start up whose construction had begun after the Fukushima disaster was triggered in March 2011. The first one was Yanjiang-4 in China that was connected to the grid in January 2017.
The project is a collaboration between the Pakistan Atomic Energy Commission (PAEC) and China National Nuclear Corporation (CNNC), with finance from the Export-Import Bank of China. The main construction contract for units 3 and 4 was signed in June 2010 and, at the time, it was said, the cost of the reactors would be some $2.37 billion, although reports suggested that the costs escalated rapidly.
Nuclear new build has been controversial in Pakistan, including in October 2014, when the Sindh High Court barred PAEC from continuing work on two new nuclear reactors being built near the city of Karachi, Pakistan, without adhering to environmental laws. These are two more Chinese origin reactors, Kanupp units 2 and 3, where construction finally started in August 2015 and May 2016 respectively.
The budget for the development of nuclear energy in Pakistan has been cut by almost half to Rs15.08 billion (US$142 million) in the current fiscal year, of which almost half is allocated to pay back loans construction projects.