A Seminar on “Nuclear Power Plants in Karachi: Benefits, Safety and Security” was organized by the Center for International Strategic Studies (CISS) at Karachi on Thursday February 20, 2014.
The seminar highlighted the benefits and prospects of nuclear energy development in Pakistan’s energy mix and its actual need in Pakistan It examined Karachi nuclear power plants in the context of safety and security, their impact on environment, and emergency measures in case of an accident or a natural calamity. It also focused on Government’s Vision 2050 Energy Plan to overcome the energy shortage to provide a perspective for its decision for establishing these plants.
Chairman of Senate Defence Committee of Senate, Mr. Mushahid Hussain Syed was the keynote speaker at the seminar. Dr. Ansar Pervez, Chairman of Pakistan Atomic Energy Commission delivered the special address. Other prominent speakers included Mr. Javed Jabbar, Dr. Shaukat Hameed Khan and Dr. Zafar Nawaz Jaspal. Mr. Nusrat Mirza, a prominent journalist chaired the working session.
The seminar engaged technical experts, policy makers, parliamentarians, academia, media and other international participants to generate a healthy debate on issues and concerns raised from certain quarters with regards to K-2 and K-3 nuclear power plants. Senator Mushahid Hussain Syed in his keynote address said that current debate on Karachi Nuclear Power Plants is reminiscent of a similar debate that ensued in 1991, when construction work on Chasma nuclear power plants commenced with Chinese cooperation. He stressed that China has developed modern technological designs and the current reactors being built are based on those advanced designs.
Highlighting significance of Pak-China cooperation he said, “China’s cooperation is absolutely pivotal in resolving Pakistan’s energy crisis. Karachi is economic capital of Pakistan and these nuclear power plants are environmentally clean, safe and secure source of energy.”
Dr. Ansar Pervez in his special address, focused on the excellent track record of Pakistan Atomic Energy Commission (PAEC) since its inception. He addressed all the concerns being raised by the members of civil society in a comprehensive manner. These concerns included safety and security aspects, mechanisms in case of natural calamities, radiation exposure. He stressed on the economic benefits that country’s economy in general and Karachi in particular will accrue in the long-run
Mr. Javed Jabbar, Former Federal Minister, representing civil society, highlighted the peaceful uses of nuclear energy in diverse fields such as agriculture, medicine and scientific research for national development. He stressed there is a need to spread awareness among the public and opinion-makers about the achievements made and its successful history of running and managing nuclear power plants over last four decades. He suggested PAEC should hold regular dialogue with members of civil society and also utilize the platform of new media to reach out to the society.
Senator Sehar Kamran, a prominent participant, said, “nuclear power is essential for Pakistan to meet its energy needs. This will also help in resolving our socio-economic challenges.”
Earlier, Ambassador Ali Sarwar Naqvi, Executive Director CISS, in his opening remarks said that in the current energy scenario, nuclear power can play a vital role. It is a safe, clean and reliable source of energy. Nuclear power can provide electricity and minimize imports of oil, gas and coal.”He highlighted the role being played by PAEC and noted that Pakistan has a four decades successful experience of managing and indigenizing civil nuclear related operations and maintains a globally recognized record of safety, security and disaster management mechanisms.
The proceedings of each session were followed by an interactive session in which the participants raised a number of questions regarding the issues covered in the respective session and were answered comprehensively by the concerned speakers. The seminar was able to create greater public awareness and many participants acknowledged its educative and informative role and appreciated the initiative taken by CISS in organizing the seminar.