MINISTER for Planning and Development Ahsan Iqbal, who is a moving spirit behind long termplanning and visionary growth and development policies, has indicated that the country might set up a mega nuclear powerplant with a capacity of 2000 MW. If implemented, this would be the largest power plant in the country as K-2 and K-3 in Karachi will have just 1100 MW capacity each.
The statement of the Minister is not definitive but it surely reflects positive thinking and planning on the part of the Government to address the issue of crippling power shortage on sustainable basis. No doubt, the Government is exploiting all available avenues – solar, wind, coal and hydel – to tackle the challenge but, according to experts, the nuclear power is not only environment friendly but cheapest (in the long run) and dependable source. It is because of this that only recently India and France have entered into a deal under which the former would build six nuclear power plants in India. As against this, some self-styled champions of human rights and, in fact, paid agents of some foreign powers have been churning out venomous propaganda against K-2 and K-3 despite repeated and reality-based assurances by experts of the field that the plants would pose no danger of any kind to Karachi, its environment or marine life. This motivated propaganda has also been rebutted strongly by legendary nuclear scientist Dr. Abdul Qadeer Khan in a recent article. He has categorically stated that the projects would present no threat to population of Karachi, adding that these have been scrutinized thoroughly by PAEC experts and designs approved by IAEA. In this backdrop, we would urge the Minister to take practical steps for fast track realization of the plan to build a mega reactor. We would also propose that the Government should consider seriously oft-repeated wise counselling of Dr. Khan that we should locally manufacture small scale nuclear power plants to serve asstandalone arrangement for each city or district.