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Move for indigenous N-fuel capability

Discussion in 'Pakistan Strategic Forces' started by Neo, Feb 21, 2007.

  1. Neo

    Neo RETIRED

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    February 21, 2007
    Move for indigenous N-fuel capability

    By Ihtasham ul Haque

    ISLAMABAD, Feb 20: Pakistan will develop an indigenous nuclear fuel manufacturing capability and set up, as a first step, a chemical processing plant (CPP).

    Informed sources told Dawn on Tuesday that it was essential “to minimise dependence on the foreign vendors and escape international pressures, constraints and restrictions”, which were hindering the country’s nuclear power generation programme.

    The CPP is proposed to be completed in five years at a cost of Rs28 billion and it will meet one-third of fuel requirement for nuclear power plants to be constructed by 2030 to add 8,800mw electricity to the national grid.

    The sources said the plant was essential for the indigenisation programme of “complete nuclear power technology in Pakistan”.

    In case of piecemeal procurement of equipment, material etc, and keeping in view international embargoes and restrictions on the sale of such equipment, the given time schedule could be delayed.

    However, officials concerned warned that any delay in commissioning the plant would not only increase the cost but would also affect the overall PAEC nuclear power programme.

    Construction of the plant is part of Pakistan’s Energy Security Plan (ESP) and has been termed the backbone of the Pakistan Nuclear Power Fuel Complex (PNPFC), which will help in getting assured and continuous supply of nuclear fuel/structural materials to other constituent plants for fabrication of fuel assemblies for electricity generation though nuclear power plants.

    The objective is to establish infrastructure (equipment/expertise) required for the indigenisation of technology related to chemical processing of nuclear fuel and structural material.

    Although, the plant having this capacity is not economically feasible, the aim is to achieve self-reliance that is desperately needed, particularly after the United States declined to extend nuclear technology to Pakistan for civilian purposes.

    The government will initially make available Rs2.8 billion to the PEAC to attain 100 per cent capability of technology involved in manufacturing of nuclear fuel/structural material for fabrication of Pressurised Water Reactor fuel assemblies.

    The plant will perform four basic activities which are conversion of U3O8 into natural UF6 gas, conversion of enriched UF6 gas into enriched UO2 powder, conversion of Zircon Ore into Zr-4 ingots and conversion of depleted UF6 to Depleted Uranium Metal (DUM).

    The plant will be set up in two phases. The phase-1 capacity will include 400TPA (tons per annum) natural UF6 gas, 40TPA enriched UO2 power and 30PTA Zr-4 ingots with the prime objective of developing indigenous capability for fabrication of fuel technology. However, with the installation of additional NPPs, the CPP capacity will have to be increased accordingly.

    In the phase-II, the plant capacity will be enhanced by investing an additional 20 per cent of the capital cost.

    Sources said purchase of nuclear fuel materials in the scope of the CPP from international vendors was restricted and their continuous supply could never be completely secured. Its purchase could only be done with the approval of the International Atomic Energy Agency.

    The proposed CPP will enable the PAEC to develop necessary infrastructure to produce indigenous nuclear fuel material.

    http://www.dawn.com/2007/02/21/top11.htm

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  2. Neo

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    March 01, 2007 Thursday Safar 11, 1428

    $600m plan to explore and mine uranium

    By Ihtasham ul Haque

    ISLAMABAD, Feb 28: The government has prepared a $600 million extensive plan for exploring and mining uranium deposits in the country to fuel future nuclear power plants (NPPs).

    Informed sources told Dawn on Wednesday that uranium deposits so far discovered in `Siwalik rocks’ in some parts of central Punjab were of low grade. However, by applying new mining technique, good quality uranium could be produced at a competitive rate with a view to progressively developing the uranium mining sector.

    The mineral sector is required to produce 350 tons of yellow cake (U3O8) per year by 2015 for meeting one-third requirements of the planned NPPs.

    The mining of uranium will be undertaken at three sites -- Bannu Basin, Suleman Range-3 and Suleman Range-4 in Dera Ghazi Khan -- to produce the required fuel for NPPs. Through these NPPs, the government wants to produce 8,800mw of electricity by 2030.

    The sources said that Pakistan had been forced to develop its own uranium resource programme as none of developed countries was ready to supply the required amount of uranium to help feed Pakistan's reactors.

    The directorate general of mining projects has been entrusted with the task of developing new uranium resources. He will ensure indigenous source of fuel supply for nuclear power plants.

    All the needed management structure and manpower requirements, including specialised skills, will be provided to the director general of mining projects during execution and operational phases.

    http://www.dawn.com/2007/03/01/top5.htm