Beijing: Unruffled by global concerns,
Beijing and Islamabad are in talks to build a new nuclear
reactor in Pakistan of one gigawatt capacity, three times more
powerful than existing ones, apparently without the approval
of the IAEA or the NSG.
Qiu Jiangang, Vice President of the state-run China
National Nuclear Corporation (CNNC), which has already built
Pakistan`s main nuclear facility at Chashma in Punjab
province, said his company was in talks to set up another
giant nuclear plant in Pakistan.
"Both sides are in discussion over the CNNC exporting
a one gigawatt nuclear plant to Pakistan", Qiu told a meeting
in Beijing without giving any details.
Tacitly confirming Qiu`s remarks, Chinese Foreign
Ministry spokesperson here told reporters during a briefing to
direct their queries to the CNNC.
But, the ministry said Beijing had informed
International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) about its plans to
build two more nuclear power plants at Chashma in addition to
the earlier two units.
Chinese Foreign Minister`s spokesperson, Jiang Yu who
replied to a number of questions about China`s plans to build
one gigawatt plant said she too "read the reports" about it
and has no information about it.
"Please confirm with the relevant company," about it,
Qiu, the top official of the CNNC giving details about
the progress of Pakistani nuclear reactors said that besides
the main plant at Chashma, his company was completing a second
reactor there and has contracts to build two more 300 megawatt
reactors, the Wall Street Journal reported.
Qiu said, that the first reactor was operating safely
and the second one was being tested and expected to start
formal operations by the end of the year.
The new plant of 1 gigawatt plant, which would be
Pakistan`s fifth and more than three times powerful than the
existing ones is being proposed to be built without China
notifying either the IAEA or the Nuclear Suppliers Group
US and India have both expressed concern after China
signed a deal in February to build the additional two 300-MW
Quoting US officials, `Wall Street Journal` said, such
plans required special exemption from the 46-nation NSG, which
China joined in 2004 and which is supposed to regulate the
global nuclear trade.
The paper said, Vann H Van Diepen, the US acting
assistant secretary of state for nonproliferation had
suggested before the House Foreign Affairs Committee in July
that the US would vote against such an exemption.
Pakistan is not a signatory to the Nuclear
Non-proliferation Treaty and there are concerns by US, Western
Nations and India that Pakistan`s nuclear material may fall
into the hands of Al Qaeda and Taliban who are based close to
the Pakistani capital.
The Chinese plans to export yet another nuclear plant
to Pakistan comes as Beijing has unveiled plans to invest
nearly USD 120 billion to increase nuclear power generation to
70-80 gigawatts by 2020, the `China Daily` reported today.
The paper said to fund the new spending spree CNNC
would list its subsidiary CNNC Nuclear Power Co Ltd.
China has stepped up investment in nuclear power in an
effort to slash its carbon emissions and reduce the nations
reliability on coal for energy needs.
The daily said China which has emerged as the world`s
second largest economy was aiming to produce 15 per cent of
its power demand from nuclear energy.
China has 11 nuclear power reactors in operation with
a capacity of 9.1 gigawatt and the country aims to increase
this to 70-80 gigawatts by 2020.
Though the Chinese spokesman was reluctant to come out
directly on the issue, a Pakistani official implicitly
confirmed it is holding talks with China to build nuclear
"We have an ongoing nuclear cooperation agreement with
China which is according to our respective international
obligations for peaceful purposes under the IAEA safeguards,"
official spokesman Abdul Basit told reporters in Islamabad.