(Islamabad, Thursday, February 20, 2014)

“Nuclear power is essential for Pakistan to meet its energy needs”, said Senator Sehar Kamran, Member Senate Standing Committee on Defence and Foreign Affairs and President Centre for Pakistan and Gulf Studies (CPGS). She was expressing her views during an international public seminar titled “Karachi Nuclear Power Plants: Benefits and Advantages“, organized by the Centre for International and Strategic Studies (CISS) here in Karachi.

Talking to media persons, Senator Kamran said that “energy crisis is driving Pakistan towards socio-political and psycho-social instabilities.” Overall societal temperature is increasing day by day and people have taken to streets. In this dire situation, the most daunting challenge that Pakistan faces today is  “how to ensure uninterrupted energy supply.”

She said that “in this age of competition, energy plays a vital role in the overall social and economic development of a state, and nuclear power is a safe, secure, sustainable, reliable and cost-effective source of clean energy production.” In the next 10 years, peak electricity demand is expected to rise in Pakistan by four to five per cent, which is roughly 1,500MW. Pakistan has almost exhausted its gas reserves. Imported oil’s price hikes affect the budget and its constant supply cannot be guaranteed. Pakistan has the potential to meet these energy challenges through hydel power, but there are political and environmental issues in building dams. Rationality demands a reduction in reliance on oil and going for alternative and safe sources of energy production.

Nuclear energy has thus far proven to be the best energy production source. She asserted that building new nuclear power plants would help resolve our socio-economic problems and also contribute improvement of the socio-political stability in Pakistan. She emphasized the need to build more nuclear power reactors to resolve the ongoing energy crisis in Pakistan.

She stated that the concerns regarding safety and security of nuclear power plants are baseless and grounded in technically illogical and exaggerated assumptions. She was of the view that the current debate on the 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. Whenever Pakistan gears up to resolve its energy crisis with the help of China, a specific lobby appears with an incorrect, inaccurate and politically-motivated narrative.

However, she said we should counter this narrative with the argument that promotion of nuclear energy is the best solution to our energy problems, as far as the cost-effectiveness and sustainability of clean energy supply is concerned. She said that over the years, the Pakistan Atomic Energy Commission and the Pakistan Nuclear Regulatory Authority have proved their capacity and capability of managing and indigenizing civil nuclear related operations and maintains a globally recognized record of safety, security and disaster management mechanisms.

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