MIANWALI: Pakistan Atomic Energy Commission (PAEC) experts emphatically defended environmental aspect of the upcoming Chashma Nuclear Power Plant Unit-5 (Chashma-5) during Public Hearing of Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA) Report here on Thursday. PAEC had earlier submitted the EIA Report of C-5 Nuclear Power Plant to the Environment Protection Department (EPD) Punjab. After preliminary scrutiny, EPD admitted the application to accord Environmental Approval required under section 12 of Punjab Environmental Protection Act 1997 and directed the proponent to make arrangements for its Public Hearing. EPD, Punjab advertised a Public Notice in national as well as local newspapers a month ago inviting public comments/proposals on the EIA Report that was made available at the site office of Chashma-5 and offices of environmental regulator and the proponent in various cities of Pakistan. At the same time, following international best practices and norms, PAEC also made arrangements for providing downloadable online copy of the EIA Report on its official website for the convenience of remote stakeholders. Public Hearing of the EIA Report is a mandatory requirement set by the environment supervisory body before construction of any project could be started. The Public Hearing event of C-5was heavily attended by local public and people from different segments of the society. However, in the context of COVID-19, the organisers ensured implementation of social distancing and precautionary SOPs during the event.In order to cater for accessibility of stakeholders sitting at a distance yet willing to participate, an online Zoom link was also provided on the official website of the proponent and registration for online participants commenced a week before. A number of these online registered participants took part in the Public Hearing proceedings through Zoom and asked questions which were responded in detail by the experts from PAEC. Officials from EPD Punjab, PAEC and Chashma Nuclear Power Generation Stations (CNPGS) complex attended the Public Hearing. On this occasion, DG, NPP and GM CNPGS gave detailed presentations on ‘Nuclear Power Program of Pakistan’ and ‘CNPGS Power Production’, respectively, which was followed by an interactive question answer (Q&A) session.It is to mention here that CNPGS currently hosts four operational nuclear power plants named Chashma-1 to Chashma-4 producing 1330 MW of electricity with above 95 percent availability and capacity factors. Recently two of these NPPs, C-2 and C-4 made national records of continuous operation for over one year. With the construction of Chashma-5 NPP, national grid will be getting another 1100MW of electricity to meet the country’s growing energy needs. PAEC has an enviable 48 years operational experience since its Karachi Nuclear Power Plant Unit-1 (KANUPP-1) got connected to national grid back in 1972. A.D. Environment Protection Agency Punjab Maqsood Butt taking to media after the Public Hearing of Chashma-5.