Chashma power plant to be ready for inauguration by next month

The 340 MW Chashma-3 (C-3) power plant has achieved maximum power generation capacity test and will be ready for inauguration by the third week of next month.

Atomic Energy Commission (PAEC) sources told Pakistan that the unit after reaching first criticality test on October 2, was connected to the country’s power grid on October 15.

They said that construction started on the Chinese-designed CNP-300 by China National Nuclear Corporation (CNNC) in March 2011, and the unit was ready to enter commercial operation in December.

They said that 3 x NPPs ie K-1, C-1 and C-2 are in operation and generating 730 MW presently and C-4 is going to another 680 MW to the national grid. Two new NPPs ie K-2 / K-3 are under construction and are likely to be operational in 2020-21, adding 2200 MW to the national grid.

The sources said that C-3 was one of two CNP-300 units being built at the site. Unit 4, which began construction nine months after unit 3, is currently going on with commissioning and expected to enter commercial operations in 2017.

The sources said that also referred to as Chasnupp, was already home to two Chinese-make units. C-1 and C2 had been in commercial operations since 2000 and 2011.

Pakistan’s first nuclear power plant KANUPP at Karachi, is in operations for the last 44 years. The other two nuclear power plants C-1 and C-2 at Chashma are generating electricity with more than 90 per cent of capacity factor.

These are the best performing power units among all power generating units of the country from all sources. These nuclear plants are supplying around 600 MW to the grid.

Two larger capacity nuclear power plants K-2 and K-3 near Karachi are under construction and will be completed in 2020 and 2021 respectively.

The sources said NPPs have been supplied and built by Chinese on Engineering, Procurement and Construction (EPC) basis and little was done indigenously. However, it is now being planned to undertake maximum possible construction work and manufacturing of equipment indigenously.

The share of mechanical equipment in a 1100 MW plant is about Rs 200 billion out of which the objective is to manufacture about 10 per cent of the mechanical equipment and gradually’ increase it to at least 30 per cent, which is considered doable.

“As, there will be 3-4 NPPs under construction, the yearly work will at least amount to Rs 30-40 billion and this will help save foreign exchange, broaden the base for manufacturing of heavy equipment in the country and gain expertise,” the sources continued.