Nawaz Sharif, Pakistan’s prime minister, today inaugurated the country’s fourth reactor – unit 3 of the Chashma nuclear power plant in Punjab province.

Construction began on the Chinese-designed CNP-300 pressurised water reactor in March 2011. The unit achieved first criticality on 3 October and was connected to the grid on 15 October. The unit’s output has since been gradually increased to 100%. On 7 December, China National Nuclear Corporation (CNNC) said Chashma 3 had completed a “100-hour reliability demonstration test”, marking the end of acceptance tests for the unit.

Chashma 3 is one of two CNP-300 units being built at the site. Unit 4, which began construction nine months after unit 3, is currently undergoing commissioning and is expected to be connected to the grid during the first half of 2017.

The Chashma site – also referred to as Chasnupp – is already home to two Chinese-supplied 300 MWe PWRs: unit 1, in commercial operation since 2000, and unit 2, since 2011. Pakistan also has a 125 MWe Canadian-supplied pressurized heavy water reactor, Karachi unit 1, which has been in commercial operation since 1972.

The 340-MWe Chashma 3 unit is a “joint collaboration” between CNNC and the Pakistan Atomic Energy Commission, according to a statement issued today.

Sharif described completion of unit 3 as another milestone towards eliminating load shedding in the country. He also said he was confident that unit 4 would enter operations before its target date of mid-2017.

The prime minister noted the country’s target of 8800 MW of nuclear power capacity by 2030.

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