This is apropos a news report “$5bn Chashma-5 N-Plant to produce power at Rs. 20 per unit: Country has swallowed a bitter bill?” published in Business Recorder. Pakistan Atomic Energy Commission (PAEC) appreciates the due diligence put in by the author. However, PAEC is of the view that some misconceptions in the story demand clarification in order to set the record straight. Firstly, the cost of upcoming Chashma Nuclear Power Plant Unit-5 (C-5) in the report is claimed to be $5 billion. Whereas, the details of the loan for C-5 are as follows: The total loan for C-5 is 21318 million RMB ($2.94 bn), PAEC will not be liable to make any foreign exchange (FE) payments for the first eight years the favour was earned by PAEC keeping in view the financial constraints of the country. Secondly, the C-5 plant will be sited at CNPGS near Kundian in District Mianwali, where four nuclear power plants (NPPs) C-1 to C-4 are already operational and are supplying 1330 MW electricity to the national grid which implies low/ negligible transmission cost as compared to other base load projects.
$5BN CHASHMA-5 N-PLANT TO PRODUCE POWER AT RS. 20 PER UNIT: COUNTRY HAS SWALLOWED A BITTER PILL?
Thirdly, the levelized per unit cost of electricity produced at C-5 NPP is Rs.13.9 instead of Rs.20 per unit as claimed by the author. Fourthly, the project of C-5 is not ‘a bitter pill’; it is rather a tonic that will boost our industrial sector; the Project’s local equipment of worth $120 million will be bought from Pakistani suppliers, saving precious foreign exchange as well as bringing in an era of highly specialised and high-tech manufacturing. Moreover, local sand, cement, crush and steel industries will also be extensively involved in the project. Fifthly, through C-5 project’s execution the country will gain industrial strength by exporting the specialized equipment’s for any future foreign projects of China. Sixthly, C-5 project gives flexibility to our means of power generation by providing essentially required diversity to the existing sources of energy. Lastly, C-5 is a clean energy project which not only saves heavy capital used for fossil fuel imports, but also contributes to the global efforts to decarbonize the energy system using nuclear power, and explore nuclear’s potential contribution towards net-zero targets.
Courtesy: Business Recorder.