Karachi, 7 March 2022 (TDI): The Pakistan Atomic Energy Commission (PAEC) stated on Friday that its Karachi Nuclear Power Plant Unit-3 (K-3) had been successfully connected to the national grid.

On February 21, the 1,100-megawatt nuclear power plant (NPP) reached criticality and was undergoing safety tests and procedures before being linked to the grid.

“The plant has been connected to the grid for testing purposes and is expected to be commissioned shortly after reaching full power,” according to a statement.

“Nuclear energy is a safe, reliable, and important source of electricity with zero carbon emissions, in addition to being economically competitive,” the PAEC said, noting that the NPPs were run under the International Atomic Energy Agency’s supervision.

With a generation capacity of 1,100 MW, K-3 is Pakistan’s second nuclear power plant, and its inclusion in the national grid is projected to lower electricity tariffs in the country, according to the PAEC.

The plants were created with Chinese assistance. K-3 is one of two identical nuclear power plants near Karachi. Prime Minister Imran Khan inaugurated the other, known as K-2, on May 21 of last year.

Nawaz Sharif, the then-Prime Minister of Pakistan, laid the foundation for the project’s two units (K-2 and K-3) in November 2013. After the authorization of the Pakistan Nuclear Regulatory Authority, construction on K-2 and K-3 began in August 2015 and May 2016.

On receiving approval from the PNRA, fuel loading for the plant (K-3) began in December 2021. The PAEC today operates six nuclear power plants across the country. Two are in Karachi, while four are in Mianwali’s district — Chashma Nuclear Power Plant Unit 1-4.

Before this, all PAEC-operated NPPs had a combined generation capacity of over 2,400 MW. The connection of K-3 to the national grid will increase the country’s nuclear power plant output capacity to over 3,500MW, significantly increasing the total proportion of the energy mix.