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The Chasma [Chashma] Nuclear Power Plant [CHASNUPP] project was initiated in the 1970s with French assistance, with primary work in Central Punjab conducted by the French firm Saint Gobain. The a 137 MW(e) project was terminated by France in 1978. The French decision was based on the failure of Pakistan to sign the NPT and accept safeguards on its entire nuclear program.

As part of this project, France agreed to supply Pakistan a reprocessing plant. In response to American pressure, France and Pakistan eventually agreed that reprocessing plant would be placed under international safeguards. The IAEA accepted the application for this facility in February 1976. By the time France decided to terminate assistance to Pakistan, at least some important technological information had already been transferred to Pakistan. Neither the small New Labs reprocessing facility nor the larger one at Chasma are under IAEA safeguards. Prior to Pakistan's 1998 nuclear tests, US officials downplayed Pakistan's reprocessing capabilities, suggesting that the reprocessing plant at Chasma as "an empty shell" -- but after the tests sources claimed that know-how which had been provided to Pakistan was "very considerable."

The project subsequently resumed as a cooperative project between Pakistan and the China Nuclear Energy Industry Corporation (CNEIC). The 300 MWe nuclear power station was based on a design by the China National Nuclear Corporation that replicated China’s first indigenous reactor, Qinshan-1, though the design was subjected to repeated changes. The first concrete was poured on 01 August 1993, and primary construction of CHASNUPP was completed in late 1995, paving the way for equipment installation and construction of ancillary facilities. The Chasma nuclear power plant began operations in November 1999. CHASNUPP) was connected to a power grid on 14 June 2000. The Karachi Electric Supply Company, which had been receiving power from KANUPP since 1972, started receiving power from CHASNUPP.

As of 1998 a Light-water, low-enriched uranium, 310-MWe reactor was underconstruction. Another identical reactor was planned for construction. Both of these reactors are planned to be covered by IAEA safeguards.

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Maintained by Michael Levi

Updated Monday, June 26, 2000 1:28:01 PM