Islamabad: Dispelling concerns about the safety of its upcoming largest civil nuclear project being implemented with Chinese help, Pakistan today said its is safe and fully covered under IAEA safeguards. "Pakistan-China nuclear cooperation is exclusively for peaceful purposes and is fully covered under International Atomic Energy Agency safeguards," Foreign Office spokesperson Tasnim Aslam told a weekly news briefing.
Three leading Pakistani physicists have raised questions about the safety, design and cost of the country?s largest nuclear power plant being built in Karachi with China`s help.
The Karachi complex will have a capacity of 2,200 MW and use two Chinese reactors whose design is yet to be finalised.
But Aslam said the project is in conformity with global commitments made by China and Pakistan. The cooperation between the two sides in civilian nuclear programmes helps Pakistan in overcoming electricity shortages and serves the country`s interest.
"Nuclear energy is a part of our energy mix. I would point out here that Pakistan has 40 years of experience in maintaining and safeguarding its civilian nuclear power plants," she said.
Civil nuclear plants are operated with safety and security, she said. "Pakistan Nuclear Regulatory Authority (PNRA), an autonomous regulatory body, regulates the safety and security of civilian nuclear materials and facilities. It works closely with IAEA and benefits from recommendations and guidance it receives from the agency," she added.
Pakistan is party to the convention on nuclear safety and two international conventions for early notification and assistance, Aslam said. "We realise that the expansion of nuclear power calls for a higher level of responsibility. We are fully committed to ensuring safety and security of these power plants that we acquire for nuclear energy."
She claimed there was a campaign "spearheaded by those who are themselves responsible for spreading nuclear technology outside the NPT and IAEA mandates".