Sir: Many people may appreciate, that the Pakistan Atomic Energy Commission (PAEC), in collaboration with the China National Nuclear Corporation (CNNC), has taken another tangible measure to overcome the crippling energy crisis in the country, by building KANUPP 2 - (K2), the largest power plant in the country, located near the Paradise Point in Karachi. However, placing a nuclear power plant so close to a heavily populated city like Karachi, does pose several large scale threats, both accidental and ecological.
With a capacity to generate 1,100MW of electricity upon completion, this costly project being built with an investment of 10 billion US Dollars, surely promises substantial relief to the energy-starved citizens of this metropolitan city. However, several civil society organisations have been expressing serious apprehensions about the use of nuclear power technologies near mega cities like Karachi, due to the myriad environmental threats and public-health hazards, posed by any possible accidents, negligence or sabotage at such sensitive projects.
Any accident or negligence at this project may lead to the spread of fatal levels of radiation across Karachi, and these threats should have been cautiously and comprehensively addressed, by the Sindh Environment Protection Agency (SEPA), before it granted the approval of this venture. It is apparent that the numerous concerns and hazard-warnings raised by the social activists have been somewhat ignored, during the approval process, because the government is also planning a third nuclear project in the same vicinity — The Kanupp-3.
The regulators and officials of the energy sector must seriously consider diversifying the energy-mix and choose safer technologies like; the safest, increasingly viable and most sustainable — Solar, Wind and other renewable energies. Pakistan is blessed with a solar-electricity potential of 2,300,000 MW per annum.
Highly evolved enterprises in Pakistan, like ‘Reon Energy’, have specialized in cutting-edge solar ventures and are inspiring the industries and household consumers to, install their independent solar-power systems that can be built within three months, to get cheap electricity and minimise reliance on the National Grid. Thus, these innovative technologies can lead the nation away from the unsafe and expensive conventional sources of electricity.