Three more nuclear power plants planned

Pakistan has planned three more Nuclear Power Plants at Chashma and Muzaffargarh in addition to the two currently under construction aimed at meeting growing demand of electricity in the country, well informed sources told Business Recorder.

Strategic Plans Division / PAEC, sources said, embarked upon a comprehensive program of power generation through Nuclear Power Plants (NPPs).

Presently, 3 x NPPs ie K-1, C-1 and C-2 are in operation and generating 730 MW and C-3 and C-4 are going to be operational in 2016 adding 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 NPPs have been supplied and built by Chinese on EPC (Engineering, Procurement and Construction) 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% of the mechanical equipment indigenously and gradually’ increase it to at least 30% 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.

This will help save foreign exchange, broaden the base for manufacturing of heavy equipment in the country and gain expertise,” the sources continued.

SPD already has a nuclear equipment workshop under the name of HMC-3 at Taxila and Peoples Steel Mills (PSM) for manufacturing of alloy steel at Manghopir, Karachi.

These two setups combined with HMC, Taxila can synergies the heavy equipment manufacturing and achieve the goal of manufacturing 30% of mechanical equipment of NPPs.

To achieve this gigantic objective of enhancing the quality and quantum of indigenous manufacture of mechanical equipment, SPD conducted a feasibility study, which recommended that HMC, HMC-3 and PSM should function under one top management.

On June 8, 2016, the Economic Co-ordination Committee (ECC) approved transfer of HMC to SDP/ PAEC.

HMC was established in 1971 in third five-year plan under Government of Pakistan policy to shift emphasis from consumer to producer goods industry in heavy engineering sector.

It was designed to produce cement plants, sugar plants, cranes and road rollers, etc, but now can also produce boilers, pressure vessels, storage tanks, conventional machinery, chemical plants and thermal /hydro power plants apart from steel casting, steel ingots, iron casting and non ferrous casting, etc.

Presently, HMC despite being a precious national asset, is highly under-utilised as it has an annual turnover of under Rs 3 billion which is by no means a healthy state of affairs.

In the last decade, most of the works performed by HMC were for sugar plants however, in the present situation sugar plants related jobs have been substantially reduced. The machinery installed at HMC is obsolete and lacks precision manufacturing.

SPD argues that the complex should be refurbished and new machinery installed for which a Balancing, Modernisation Restructuring and Expansion (BMRE) program worth Rs 21.543 billion for upgradation of machinery and Rs 665.83 million for design institute has been approved by the Government; however, funds have not been provided yet.

In December 2006, the decision to privatise HMC was not implemented by the Government on the recommendations of SPD.

The basic objective of getting the HMC excluded from privatisation list was to prepare it to support SPD in its plans to indigenously manufacture equipment for Balance of Plant (BoP) for NPPs.

In March 2008, during the period of interim Government, HMC was placed under the administrative control of SPD by de-linking it from Ministry of industries & Production (Mol&P) for the above cited rationale, however, in September 2008 the decision was reviewed by the then elected Government which decided that the earlier arrangement under which the affairs of HMC were being managed jointly by Ministry of Industries & ‘Production and SPD would continue.

SPD/PAEC maintains that HMC together with HMC-3 and PSM has great potential to contribute to the indigenous manufacturing of equipment for NPPs as well as in the growth of national economy in the coming years especially in terms of mega projects and upcoming industrialisation in the wake of the China Pakistan Economic Corridor.

Additionally, SPD plans to configure HMC in such a manner that maximum mechanical work related to strategic program is done at HMC which would result in a further increase of its turnover.

“HMC is a critical industry for the development of mega projects and needs to be put back on track through already approved BMRE. The PC-I already approved can be reviewed and executed in two phases. In phase-I, most essential machinery can be installed which will reduce the requirement of funds from the Government,” said Director General SPD.

Correction: This is apropos a headline ‘Handing over of HEC to SPD/PAEC approved by ECC’ carried by the newspaper yesterday. In this headline, Heavy Mechanical Complex (HMC) was erroneously indicated or described as ‘HEC’. –Business Recorder