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N-plant’s dome to be constructed tomorrow

Islamabad: The containment building of the fourth reactor at the Chashma Nuclear Power Complex would get its ‘dome’ on Thursday, marking the completion of major civil works at the unit.

According to an official of the Pakistan Atomic Energy Commission (PAEC), “The emplacement of the 180-tonne steel dome is a significant milestone in the installation of the reactor.”

Chashma IV, as it is commonly known, is being built in collaboration with Chinese firms — China Zhongyuan Engineering (general contractor) and China Nuclear Industry Construction Company (installer). Shanghai Nuclear Engineering and Research Design Institute had provided the design for the reactor.

Two reactors are currently being installed at the Chashma Nuclear Power Complex — Chashma III and Chashma IV. Contracts for the two reactors were signed with the Chinese firms in 2009 and they are expected to begin commercial operations in 2016 and 2017 respectively.

Officials associated with the nuclear programme believe that the two reactors could be commissioned before schedule.

Chashma III got its dome in March.

Both Chashma III and IV are 340mw pressurised water reactors. Chashma I and II, also provided by China, were 300mw each.

The PAEC official explained that installation of reactor equipment at the site would continue after the capping (‘dome laying’) of Chashma IV.

The government has set a target of generating 40,000mw of electricity from nuclear sources by 2050.

The government says that access to cheap nuclear energy was vital for sustained growth.

The ground-breaking ceremony of the country’s largest nuclear power plant (Kanupp-II and Kanupp-III) with a combined generation capacity of 2,200mw was performed in Karachi in November. The city has a pressurised heavy water reactor Kanupp-I, a 125mw facility.

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