Open main menu

Karachi Nuclear Power Complex

The Karachi Nuclear Power Complex or KNPC is located in Paradise Point, Karachi, Sindh, Pakistan. It consists of the Karachi Nuclear Power Plant (KANUPP) and the Pakistan Atomic Energy Commission's Control & Instrumentation Analysis Lab (CIAL KARACHI). Two new nuclear power plants, KANUPP-2 and KANUPP-3, are also under construction at the site. When complete, the complex of civilian nuclear power plants will produce over 2000 MW of electricity. The International Atomic Energy Agency safeguards and inspects the complex. The plant is under construction by the Pakistan Atomic Energy Commission (PAEC) and is financed by the IAEA, the China Guangdong Nuclear Power Group, the China National Nuclear Corporation, and the China Atomic Energy Authority.

Karachi Nuclear Power Complex
LocationParadise Point, Karachi
Coordinates24°50′49.8″N 66°47′17.7″E / 24.847167°N 66.788250°E / 24.847167; 66.788250Coordinates: 24°50′49.8″N 66°47′17.7″E / 24.847167°N 66.788250°E / 24.847167; 66.788250
StatusUnder construction
Commission dateUnit 1: May 28, 2022
Unit 2: January 27, 2023
Owner(s)Pakistan Atomic Energy Commission (PAEC)
Operator(s)Pakistan Atomic Energy Commission
Nuclear power station
Reactor typeDeuterium uranium
Reactor supplierPakistan Atomic Energy Commission
Power generation
Units operationalN/A
Units planned8800 MW
Nameplate capacityUnit 1: 125 MWe
Unit 2: 1,000 MWe
External links
WebsiteKarachi Nuclear Power Plant

KESC and NESPAK cooperationEdit

The National Engineering Services Pakistan (NESPAK) has been providing consultancy services to the Karachi Nuclear Power Complex for the replacement of the aging circuit breakers and protective relays of the 132 kV double circuit transmission line that links the complex with the Karachi Electric Supply Corporation network at Baldia grid station. The old bulk oil circuit breakers and electromechanical protective relays have been replaced with the latest SF6 circuit breakers and modern numerical line protection devices.

Electricity connectionsEdit

Stand-alone 132 kV current transformers have been provided for protection and metering functions as substitute for the bushing current transformers in the bulk oil circuit breakers. KNPC and NESPAK engineers worked closely in devising a discriminative protection scheme and its integration into the complex systems of the nuclear power plant. Both circuits of KANUPP-Baldia double circuit lines have been re-energised with the new equipment. Performance indicators have since validated the intended objectives of the project vis-a-vis discriminative functioning of the protection system against disturbances in KESC power system for stable operation of KANUPP.


KANUPP-I is a CANDU reactor supplied by the Canadian Government in 1971. It was inaugurated on November 28, 1972, by then-President Zulfiqar Ali Bhutto. KANUPP-I is a single unit pressurized heavy water reactor with a total gross capacity of 137 MW. It remains in operation as of December 2018, and is currently limited to 85 MW. The International Atomic Energy Agency has monitored the reactor since its construction.


Since independence from United Kingdom in 1947, Pakistan had repeatedly suffered energy crises that have contributed to the country's economic slowdown. In 1960, President Field Marshal Ayub Khan appointed Abdus Salam as his Science Advisor.[1] Soon after, Abdus Salam became the head of Pakistan's IAEA delegation.[1] In that capacity, Abdus Salam advocated the UN General Assembly for the support of nuclear energy in Pakistan.[1] Due to Abdus Salam's influence on President Ayub Khan, Salam had the commercial nuclear plant near Karachi personally approved, in spite of opposition to the project from the military establishment.[1] In 1965, Abdus Salam traveled to United States, where in a ceremony, Canada and Pakistan signed a nuclear energy pact with Canadian General Electric (now GE Canada) establishing the country's first nuclear plant.[1] Per agreement, the Pakistan Atomic Energy Commission's engineers and scientists led the construction of the project,[citation needed] while GE Canada provided funds and natural uranium fuel.[citation needed] Parvez Butt, a nuclear engineer, was the chief designer of the plant at the GE Canada's designing office.[citation needed] In 1966, construction started, and it was completed in 1971. On November 28, 1972 then-President Zulfiqar Ali Bhutto, accompanied by Abdus Salam and the PAEC's newly appointed Chairman Munir Ahmad Khan, inaugurated the first unit of the Karachi Nuclear Plant.[2]

The technology of the nuclear power plant is similar to Canada's Nuclear Power Demonstration reactor (22 MWe, 1962-1985, also built by CGE); NPD was the prototype for the pressurized heavy water reactors that became the CANDU design. Munir Ahmad Khan, now as chairman, indigenously developed and established the nuclear fuel cycle programme.[citation needed] In 1972, Pakistan, under Bhutto, refused to sign the NPT.[citation needed] Because the reactor-grade plutonium was extremely dangerous to be open in public, the PAEC transferred it to the New Laboratories (known as The New Labs), and produced the first batch of fresh weapons-grade plutonium.[citation needed] In 1976, Canada stopped the supply of fuel and spare parts for the plant.[citation needed] The highly radioactive material was also left openly in Karachi[citation needed] as Canadian technicians departed from Pakistan. Pakistan media then speculated that in the absence of Canadian officials, the city would suffer a major power blackout. Canadian officials later stated that the reactor would be shut down in six months.[citation needed] However, the PAEC, using indigenous resources, produced sufficient feed for KANUPP.[citation needed] In 1978, the PAEC developed its own nuclear fuel and began loading the feedstock into KANUPP-I.[citation needed] As of December 31, 2017 KANUPP-I has generated 14.2 billion kWhr of electricity (net to grid, IAEA PRIS data) and been fueled by thousands of Pakistani-made fuel bundles without any failure.[citation needed]


The KANUPP reactor site is on the Arabian Sea coast, about 11 miles (17.7 km) west of Karachi. The Karachi Nuclear Power Plant (KANUPP) has a heavy water moderated and cooled natural uranium-fueled, horizontal pressure tube reactor. Other distinguishing features are once-through, on-power bidirectional fueling, reactor shutdown by moderator dump, and a reactor building designed for total containment of any pressure resulting from an accident.

Engineering facility and power capacityEdit

The gross plant rating is 137 MWe and the corresponding net output is 125 MWe. The Nuclear Reactor Building contains the entire reactor system and auxiliaries, and consists of a pre-stressed concrete cylindrical wall, a hemispherical segmental dome of pre-stressed concrete, and a concrete base slab. The Turbine Building houses the turbine-generator and auxiliaries, water processing equipment, electrical distribution equipment, and the control room. The building is a reinforced concrete frame and block structure.

Nuclear reactor operationsEdit

The reactor consists of a tubed calandria vessel of austenitic stainless steel, which contains the heavy water moderator/reflector and 208 coolant tube assemblies. The moderator system consists of the calandria, coolers, pumps and purification system in the heavy water circuit, and control valves, dump valves and helium blowers in the helium circuit. The fuel is natural uranium in the form of sintered uranium dioxide pellets sheathed in thin zirconium alloy tubes to form solid fuel elements about 19.1 inches (48.53 cm) long by 0.6 inches (1.4 cm) diameter.


KANUPP came into commercial operation in 1972 and after completing its 30 years of design life was shut down on December 6, 2002. The plant resumed operations in 2006. At present[when?] the plant is undergoing several safety upgrades for operation beyond design life. On the request of KANUPP, the Pakistan Nuclear Regulatory Authority allowed the plant to operate at 80 MW for the interim period. The PAEC has denied any media reports of shutting down the nuclear power plant, however, on June 30, 2009, a senior official of PAEC stated that the KANUPP would be decommissioned in 2012; the reactor was operating as of December 2018. The KANUPP-II, an indigenous nuclear power plant build by PAEC, will be taking the place of the KANUPP-I. In November 2013, Pakistan and China confirmed that two ACP1000 Nuclear reactors, KANUPP-2 and KANUPP-3, will be built at Karachi.[3]


On 18 October 2011 the KANUPP Karachi nuclear power plant imposed a seven-hour emergency after heavy water leaked from a feeder pipe to the reactor.[4] The leakage started around midnight on Tuesday during a routine maintenance shut down.[4] After the leakage was detected a state of emergency was imposed at the plant and the affected area was isolated. The emergency was lifted seven hours later, after the leak was reportedly brought under control.[4]

KANUPP-2 and 3Edit

KANUPP-2 and 3 will cost $9.5 billion and each unit will produce 1,100 MW and total of 2,200 MW.[5][6][7] On 26 November 2013, Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif ceremonially broke ground on a new governmental power project at the Karachi Nuclear Power Complex for the construction of two ACP1000 (Hualong One) nuclear reactors,.[3][8] Dr. Ansar Pervaiz, the Chairman of the Pakistan Atomic Energy Commission, said that KANUPP-2 would begin commercial operations by 2019[9][10][11][12] and KANUPP-3 by 2020.[3] The reactor design has been upgraded to the Hualong One, a development of the ACP1000, with commercial operation now planned for 2021 and 2022.[13]


KANUPP-4 is a planned commercial nuclear power plant, to be located at Karachi.

Nuclear Engineering Training CenterEdit

The Karachi Nuclear Power Complex also contains a nuclear engineering college. KANUPP's Institute of Nuclear Power Engineering (KINPOE) is controlled by PAEC. KINPOE offers two-year master program in nuclear engineering accredited by Pakistan Institute of Engineering and Applied Sciences (PIEAS) and PDTP.

See alsoEdit


  1. ^ a b c d e Riazuddin (2005). "Contribution of Professor Abdus Salam as Technical Member of Pakistan Atomic Energy Commission (PAEC)" (PDF). The Nucleus. Islamabad: Professor Riazuddin, emeritus scientist at the National Center for Nuclear Physics, and a professor of theoretical physics at the Institute of Physics of the Quaid-i-Azam University. 42 (1–2): 31–34. ISSN 0029-5698. Archived from the original (PDF) on 27 June 2014. Retrieved 28 March 2014.
  2. ^ Prime minister Zulfikar Ali Bhutto with Abdus Salam and Munir Ahmad Khan (1971). Pakistan - PAEC Chairman & Z.A Bhutto inauguration of KANUPP nuclear plant (TV-Medium). Karachi, Sindh Province, Pakistan: Pakistan Atomic Energy Commission and Pakistan Military Consortium (PMC).
  3. ^ a b c "With Reactor Deal, China and Pakistan Seek to Reshape Global Nuclear Governance". Retrieved 26 October 2016.
  4. ^ a b c Aziz, Faisal (Oct 20, 2011). "Leak at Pakistani nuclear plant, but no damage". Retrieved 22 October 2011.
  5. ^ Pakistan to start work on Chinese-aided nuclear power plant
  6. ^ "Govt to kick off work on 1,100MW nuclear power plant - The Express Tribune". 7 June 2013. Retrieved 26 October 2016.
  7. ^ "The Nuclear Shadow over Karachi". 17 March 2014. Retrieved 26 October 2016.
  8. ^ "Pakistan Breaks Ground on Nuclear Plant Project With China". The New York Times. 27 November 2013. Retrieved 26 October 2016.
  9. ^ China commits $6.5 billion for nuclear power project in Karachi
  10. ^ "Local Fallout From Pakistan". Retrieved 26 October 2016.
  11. ^ "Nuclear reactors worry Pakistan's fishers - All media content - DW.COM - 20.03.2014". Retrieved 26 October 2016.
  12. ^ "PM Sharif in Karachi, inaugurates KANUPP-2 power project". Retrieved 26 October 2016.
  13. ^ "Pressure vessel in place at Karachi 2". World Nuclear News. 11 October 2017. Retrieved 21 November 2017.

External linksEdit