Mianwali (Web Desk/Agencies):Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif on Friday broke ground on the 1200 MW Chashma Nuclear Power Plant Unit 5 (C-5) which is likely to be completed in seven to eight years at a cost of around US$3.48 billion.
Addressing the ground breaking ceremony at Chashma, the premier said keeping in mind the country’s requirements of clean and cheap energy sources, the project should be completed before the given schedule.
Terming it a huge milestone and a symbol of cooperation between the two great friends China and Pakistan, Shehbaz Sharif said the project would help the country promoting clean, efficient and comparatively cheaper energy.
He said after a pause of many years, the China Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC) was going again in full swing.
PM Shehbaz gave the credit of concluding the agreement of C-5 to the coalition government and the SPD for their hard efforts.
“Our detractors had been fabricating rumours all around that Pakistan was going to default on its sovereign commitments but we crossed all turbulent waters in just 15 months,” he added.
He said the risk of potential default had been completely averted through team effort of the government.
The prime minister said a couple of days ago, there was an approval of the International Monetary Fund (IMF) programme and within 48 hours around $4.5 billion were transferred by the Pakistan’s brotherly countries Saudi Arabia and UAE besides another $1.2 billion from the IMF.
About 4 months ago, he said the Chinese government and commercial banks rolled over amounts back to Pakistan to the tune of $5 billion.
He paid his tributes to the the Chinese President XI Jinping, Saudi Crown Prince Mohammad bin Salman and United Arab Emirates (UAE) President Mohamed bin Zayed Al Nahyan for their support in need of hour.
Speaking on the occasion, Charge D’affaires of the Chinese embassy in Pakistan, Pang Chunxue said C5 would help Pakistan building low carbon, clean and cheap energy which would also produce local jobs and would engage the local industries to contribute in the project.
She said China-Pakistan cooperation in the field of peaceful use of nuclear energy has made great achievements. She said iron clad friendship between Pakistan and China is continuously writing new chapters and this was not possible without joint efforts on both sides.
The Chinese Charge D'Affaires said under the CPEC, fourteen energy projects have been put in commercial operation with a total installed capacity of eight thousand megawatts. She said the two countries will move side by side to promote the high quality development of the CPEC and make joint efforts to build a closer China Pakistan Community with a shared future in the new era.
Chairman of China National Nuclear Cooperation Yu Jianfeng said cooperation between Pakistan and China in nuclear energy had become an integral part of the all weather strategic cooperative partnership.
He said the C5 project was a signigicant milestone in the HPR 1000 development global journey. Hualong One (HPR 1000) is the 3rd-generation nuclear power brand to which China has exclusive intellectual property rights.
Chairman Pakistan Atomic Energy Cooperation Raja Ali Raza Anwar said Chashma-5 project has brought us one step closer to the envisaged goal of producing 8800 megawatts clean nuclear energy.
He said Chashma-5 will enhance not only our nuclear power technology experience but also have an impact on several areas of socio-economic uplift.
Planning Minister Ahsan Iqbal and Energy Minister Khurram Dastgir Khan were also present on the occasion.