Beijing confirms plan for 2 N-reactors
BEIJING: China on Tuesday gave its firmest government confirmation yet of plans to build two new nuclear reactors for Pakistan, but a foreign ministry spokeswoman said she did not know about talks over a bigger reactor deal.
The spokeswoman, Jiang Yu, said China planned to help Pakistan expand its Chashma nuclear energy complex in Punjab by building two reactors in addition to one already operating and another nearing completion.Her comments also suggested Beijing could see no need to seek approval for the two new Chashma reactors from the Nuclear Suppliers Group (NSG), an international council of governments, some of whose members have voiced qualms about the deal.
“This project is based on an agreement signed between the two countries in 2003 about cooperation in the nuclear power field,” Ms Jiang told a regular news conference, citing plans to build the No 3 and No 4 reactors of about 300 megawatts each at Chashma.
“China has already notified the International Atomic Energy Agency about the relevant details, and invited the IAEA to exercise safeguards and oversight of this project,” said Ms Jiang.
Up to now, Chinese government officials have been tight-lipped in public about the planned new units at Chashma, although the Chinese companies picked to build them have announced contract signings.
The spokesman was also asked about the China National Nuclear Corporation’s statement on Monday that it was in talks to build a 1-gigawatt nuclear reactor for Pakistan, in addition to the four smaller Chashma units built, being finished or planned.
But she had less to say on the issue. “We don’t understand this matter. You can make further inquiries with the company,” Ms Jiang said.Pakistan also implicitly confirmed it was holding talks with China to build a new nuclear power plant.
“We have an ongoing civil nuclear cooperation agreement with China which is according to our respective international obligations for peaceful purposes under the IAEA safeguards,” Foreign Office spokesman Abdul Basit said.