Islamabad, Jun 20 (EFE).- Pakistan and China on Tuesday signed a $4.8 billion deal to build a 1,200MW nuclear power plant in the central Punjab province.
This will take the total number of nuclear power plants in the country to 7, with a generation capacity of 4700MW.
The memorandum of understanding was signed for the construction of Chashma-5 (C-5) nuclear power project in the presence of Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif in Islamabad.
Construction work on the plant is expected to begin immediately, Sharif said on state-run Pakistan Television following the signing of the MoU between China National Nuclear Cooperation and Pakistan Atomic Energy Commission.
“Investment from China in this project to the tune of $4.8 billion sends a message loud and clear that Pakistan is a place where Chinese companies and investors continue to show their trust and faith,” Sharif said during his address.
The C-5 project will be built near Mianwali city in the central province of Punjab. In 2021, Pakistan inaugurated a 1100MW K-2 nuke energy facility in the southern port city of Karachi.
The K-2 plant, Pakistan’s sixth nuclear power project, was also built with Chinese assistance.
Sharif underlined that China once again came to Pakistan’s aid at a moment when it was faced with economic challenges, and also awaiting a response from the International Monetary Fund for a $.6.5 billion bailout program.
As per the IMF executive board’s schedule until June 29, Pakistan is not on the agenda with its release of the bailout still pending.
A staff-level agreement to release $1.1 billion of the $6.5 billion package agreed in 2019 has been delayed since November, with the program expiring on June 30.
Pakistan is among the top 10 countries of the world which are at risk due to climate change. More than 7,000 glaciers in the country, highest outside the North and South Poles, are melting at a rapid speed, posing an acute water shortage and food security issues in the coming years.
The south Asian nation is looking to shift its focus from generating energy from fossil fuels to clean energy.
China has pledged to invest around $65 billion into Pakistan through different projects under the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor. It is unclear if the new project is part of this investment plan. EFE