New nuclear reactors in Pakistan fitted with containment domes

Containment domes are now in place at a pair of nuclear reactors under construction in Pakistan by Chinese companies. The operation to fit the dome was completed on March 6, China’s State Nuclear Power Technology Co. reported.

Two 340 MW pressurized water reactors (PWRs) are under construction at the site. China Zhongyuan Engineering is the general contractor and China Nuclear Industry No. 5 Construction Co. is the installer. Shanghai Nuclear Engineering and Research Design Institute designed the reactors

Chashma 3 and Chashma 4 are expected to begin commercial operation in 2016 and 2017 respectively, although SNPTC said that the unit 3 dome lift was carried out ahead of schedule. The new units will add to the power already generated by Chashma 1 and 2 — 300 MWe PWRs also supplied by China.

Only one other nuclear power reactor operates in the country, a 125 MWe pressurized heavy water reactor at Karachi, called Kanupp. All units are owned and operated by the state-owned Pakistan Atomic Energy Commission (PAEC).

Pakistan is not a party to the non-proliferation treaty and therefore is not generally permitted to purchase nuclear technologies and materials. The reactors being built are subject to specific International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) safeguard arrangements.

Construction of a third nuclear power reactor at Pakistan’s Chashma site officially started on May 28, according to the IAEA.

The Chashma Nuclear Power Plant unit 3, also known as Chasnupp 3, is a 340 MW pressurized water reactor being constructed by China. It is expected to start commercial operation in 2016. There are already two 300 MWe PWRs at Chashma, also supplied by China. Chasnupp 1 started operating in June 2000, while Chasnupp 2 began operating in May 2011.

The construction of Chasnupp 4, another 340 MW PWR, has already been approved and is expected to begin in 2012. The main construction contract for units 3 and 4 – a project costing some $2.37 billion — was signed in June 2010 by the PAEC and Shanghai Nuclear Engineering Research and Design Institute.

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