The civil nuclear program comprised the major part of the nuclear program of Pakistan. Pakistan has always been cognizant of the use and benefits of nuclear technology in civil sector. The use of nuclear technology for civil purposes entails the use in medicine, utilization in energy, agriculture or dealing with the climate change. It is contributing in various aspects, for the welfare of people, and ultimately in achieving the sustainable development goals.
Pakistan Atomic Energy Commission (PAEC) was established in 1956, with the primary aim to utilize peaceful uses of nuclear energy in various civil sectors of Pakistan. In 1970s, the first ever nuclear power plant was established by PAEC in Karachi- named as KANNUP, with the generation capacity of 135 MWe; it was also the first nuclear power plant in the underdeveloped or developing world. It was further followed by KANNUP-II, and KANNUP-III, besides four nuclear power plants Chashma- CHASNUPP-I, CHASNUPP-II, CHASNUPP-III, and CHASNUPP-IV. Other power plants at Chashma and Muzaffargarh are under consideration to be built by PAEC. PAEC has the target of achieving the nuclear energy generation of about 8800 MW, by 2030. This plan was given under the Energy Security Plan of 2005. The completion of the K-2 and K-3 projects will bring Pakistan closer to achieving its stated target.
The changing Climatic condition of the world can also be somehow controlled by the use of nuclear energy, and is thus one of the major drivers towards pursuance and utilization of peaceful nuclear energy by Pakistan. The nuclear energy is the comparative environmental friendly and clean alternative, and thus its utilization would be a great step towards the attainment of energy requirements of Pakistan.
In the field of Agriculture, Pakistan has made remarkable improvement, utilizing the nuclear energy, and working extensively on Biotechnology. PAEC is working efficiently to utilize nuclear technology in agriculture sector, by introducing a variety of pest control technologies, plant nutrition, with the collaboration of IAEA numerous institutes have been developed by PAEC, which includes National Institute of Biotechnology and Genetic Engineering (NIBGE), Nuclear Institute of Agriculture and Biotechnology (NIAB), Nuclear Institute for Agriculture (NIA), Nuclear Institute for Food and Agriculture (NIFA); these institutes are continuously working to enhance the productivity of the agriculture sector in Pakistan. PAEC and its agriculture center also organize “Farmer’s Days” to create awareness among farmers, to educate them about effectiveness of newly developed varieties of the crops and how cultivation of such crops can benefit them and country.
But this is not the only focus of the PAEC; it is also working in the field of nuclear and chemical sciences with special focus on their application for peaceful uses of nuclear technology. The major research and development institute of PAEC is PINSTECH which is ensuring the well balanced research in the field of peaceful uses of nuclear technology to facilitate the needs of the future. PINSTECH is effectively contributing for years towards achieving the goal of socio-economic development of the country, in various fields. The Pakistan Research Reactor- PARR-I and PARR-II- has enabled Pakistan to attain a higher degree of self-sufficiency.
Pakistan is successfully operating nuclear power plants, for over 04 years. It has a clean record of security and safety of nuclear materials. Pakistan has ratified and adheres to the Physical Protection of Nuclear Material (CPPNM) and UN Resolution 1540; IAEA and other global nuclear watchdogs have admired the safety and security of nuclear materials of Pakistan for years.
Recently, Pakistan has also presented its achievements in the peaceful uses of nuclear technology in front of the international community at the IAEA headquarters, Vienna, for the first time ever. The exhibition stands to vitrine Pakistan’s achievements in the peaceful aspects of nuclear technology in various grounds such as health, power generation, industry, agriculture and environmental protection. The remarkable and successful track record of Pakistan’s safety and security of nuclear energy shows Pakistan’s commitment to the national responsibility of the protection of such materials and plays its part in achieving global peace and security.