Proposed nuclear plants be shifted to Gadani: moot told

KARACHI: Project Director of K-2 and K-3, the under-construction 2200-megawatt plants, Engineer Azfar Minhaj, said that the proposed project of K-2 and K-3 would help boost the economy of Pakistan and end energy crisis.

He was speaking at a two-day symposium “29th Multi-Topic International Symposium” at a local hotel on Thursday. President of the Institution of Electrical & Electronics Engineers Pakistan (IEEEP) Engr Tahir Basharat Cheema, Convener Technical IEEEP Engr Roland deSouza, Energy Consultant Syed Akhtar Ali, physicist & peace activist Dr AH Nayyar, Physicist & Defence Analyst Dr Pervez Hoodbhoy and Muttahida Qaumi Movement leader Dr Farooq Sattar among others were also present on the occasion.

A panel discussion entitled “Are the proposed K-2 and K-3 Nuclear reactors a threat to Karachi” was held on the occasion.

He said that it was an immediate need of our country, especially of Karachi, the city of largest population of Pakistan, to generate alternative and cost-effective energy to help ease load shedding and power failure which have destroyed our economy and industry.

Azfar said that the plant is being established near Paradise Point beach which is not far from the city to limit the transmission line.

“In my point of view and after consultation with experts, I have reached the conclusion that this is the safest place for the project as we have measured every aspects of safety whether system failure or a terrorism threat even the threat of crashing a jet like in 9/11 or missile attack have also been measured,” he said.

He said that the radiation dose which a person can receive from a nuclear reactor in two years is less than a man receives during one flight from Islamabad to Washington.

Hoodbhoy expressed his views as a critique and said that though it is true that we need a lot of electrical power as we have been encountering several challenges but how can an imported energy be cheap? and for your kind knowledge we are the only buyer of nuclear energy from China in the world.

He said that nuclear technology is far more complex than the jet technology, as Chinese experts have expressed that there are still bad features in the design of the nuclear reactor and they are working to improve the technology that is why we could not claim that it can make no damage.

“There are always chances of disaster as happened in Fukushima, Japan, in 2011 or even terrorism could be the reason for the damage of the plant. As we cannot claim that it can never be attacked because even our military bases have not been safe in the past. If there happens to be any damage here in densely populated city, the destruction would be beyond imagination,” he said.

He also said that as far as threat from India is concerned General Zia-ul-Haq in 1985 had made an agreement with the then prime minister of India Rajiv Gandhi not to attack nuclear sites, so, we may consider ourselves safe on that side.

Nayyar said that the complacent attitude of the Pakistan Atomic Energy Commission (PAEC) is doubtful, though, PAEC was the only organization which informed masses about the possible hazardous of radiation but nobody was allowed to calculate the radiation at The Karachi Nuclear Power Plant (Kanupp), so, how could we believe in the secrecy of the organization.

Akhtar said that the location of the proposed power plant should be shifted to Gadani, at 50 km from Karachi, from the Paradise Point, which is 16 km away from here, to prevent citizens from radiations.

“Karachi West in which Saddar an economical hub of Karachi lies will be in danger zone if the power plant is established in Paradise Point,” he said.

Basharat said that 2800 mw power energy was stated to be the demand of Karachiites these days and it would soon exceed to 4000 mw as the population and utilities are increasing. That was why we would need every kind of sources to fulfill our needs, whether coal, wind, solar or nuclear.

Farooq Sattar presented shields to Akhtar, Hoodbhoy, Nayyar, Basharat and deSouza in the end.

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