Karachi University  RFI seminar, 5 Aug 19,

Brig. Zahir UL Haider Kazmi

DG Arms Control & Disarmament (ACDA-SPD)


1. Professor Iraqi (Vice Chancellor, Karachi University), Nusrat Mirza sahib (Chairman Rabita Forum International), Mr Anwar Habib (former Chairman PNRA), Dr Naeem Ahmad (Head of IR Department), honourable faculty members, Dr Shahid Riaz Khan (PAEC) sahib, my teacher and friend Dr Jaspal, distinguished guests, ladies and gentlemen, Assalam-o-Alaikum.

2. I thank Rabita Forum and Karachi University for organising this

seminar on Peaceful Uses of Nuclear Energy and inviting me



3. Radiation fascinates and frightens people. We may be concerned about nuclear energy because an atom and its radiation are invisible to an eye. Those misperceptions are more dangerous than the radiation itself.

4. An atom has an interesting dual character  its energy can be used for a massive explosion but can also be used for treating cancer, producing electricity, purifying water and producing safe crops and other peaceful applications that the worthy speakers will enlighten us about today.

5. One may feel scared about living close to a nuclear power plant but would not notice that more radiation would be absorbed in along-distance flight, or in a CT scans and even in eating bananas.

6. Banana is so radioactive that it’s used as a measurement of radiation in itself – “equivalent to x bananas.” Each one contains 45 mg of potassium, which includes the radioactive isotope potassium-40. The radiation from the fruit measures out as 3,520 picocuries per kilo  that’s high enough to set off a sensitive radiation alarm. If you ate it one per day, you’d receive a dose of 2.6 mrem per year. In a surprising comparison, living next to KANUPP one would be exposed to 0.09 mrem in a year!

7. For most people, 96 percent radiation is absorbed from medical X-rays  a chest X-ray delivers 10 mrem. The small bit that’s left over, surprisingly, doesn’t come from nuclear power plants but from coal, which the Imperial College London puts out has three times more radiation than an operational reactor plant.

8. Travel broadens the mind, but it also ups the radiation doses. Every security scan is worth 0.002 mrem and a flight to Dubai or London is 2 to 5 mrem from cosmic rays coming in through the thinner atmosphere at cruising altitude. Frequent fliers receive 200 mrem per year!

9. Ladies and Gentlemen: I did not want to scare us into quitting useful things like avoiding a medical x-ray scan or travelling for business or pleasure. But we must carry the correct perspective that radiation saves far more people every year than it kills.

10. Like common salt, nuclear energy is safe in small doses, but dangerous in high amounts.

11. If you measured radiation levels in Aberdeen in UK  which is built on granite  there would be higher background levels of radiation than what we witnessed in Fukushima nuclear power plant accident in 2011.

12. According to an estimate, a 3 mrem dose increases the chances

of premature death by one in a million. That’s equivalent to breathing New York City air for two days, riding a motorcycle for one mile, traveling in a car for 300 miles, eating 40 tablespoons of peanut butter at once, or smoking one cigarette. Instead of quitting, we deal with these necessities wisely in a safe and secure manner.

13. I recall, in 2013, once two new nuclear power plants were being started along Karachi’s coastline, a deliberate scare was created some apparently well educated people who ultimately lost the case to block construction of KANUPP 2 and 3. These two plants will add 2200 MWe to the grid – allowing businesses to run and millions of students to get education in comfortable environment!


14. Ladies and Gentlemen: in next 20 minutes, I will briefly give the background, present and future of Pakistan’s tryst with peaceful uses of nuclear energy. At the end I will make an elevator pitch for our imperatives to gain wider access to peaceful nuclear technology through Nuclear Suppliers Group.


15. Pakistan is one of the founding members of the International Atomic Energy Agency, which was created in 1957 to regulate nuclear safety and security. As a member of IAEA since 2 May 1957, Pakistan has actively contributed to the Agency and other global institutions.

16. We have always been one of the front runners in peaceful uses of nuclear energy and non-proliferation of nuclear weapons.

17. Karachi was the first Pakistani city to benefit from nuclear energy once the 100 MWe KANUPP was connected to the grid on 4 Oct 1972. KANUPP-2 and 3 will come on line by 2020 and 2021 bringing more energy to this beautiful city of lights insha Allah.

18. We reluctantly opted to become a nuclear power after our Eastern neighbour proliferated from peaceful nuclear technology and tested a nuclear weapon in 1974. After exercising a long restraint, Pakistan decided to test weapons in May 1998 once Hindustan resumed nuclear testing that month.

19. Prior to 1998, Pakistan made nine offers to India for keeping South Asia free of nuclear weapons. Since 1998, Islamabad has pursued several nuclear and conventional CBMs with a view to avoiding arms race in the Subcontinent. We have been urging New Delhi to jointly establish a Strategic Restraint Regime for conflict resolution, nuclear restraint and nuclear balance. The idea is lying on their table for last 21 years!

Nuclear Power

20. Ladies and Gentlemen: Pakistan’s nuclear energy sector has contributed to the socio-economic uplift of Pakistan and there is ample space for growth in this industry.

21. The nuclear energy sector inter alia spans seven major areas: power generation, minerals exploration, developing high-yield stress tolerant crops, cancer treatment, design and fabrication of industrial plants and equipment and human resource development.

22. Even as a developing country, Pakistan is one of ten countries in the world to operate a complete nuclear fuel cycle and is amongst 30 countries that have nuclear power plants in operation. There are 40 more countries that are planning to begin a nuclear power program.

23. Pakistan has a remarkable experience in safe and secure operation of nuclear power plants. We have the expertise and the ability to supply items, goods and services for a full range of nuclear applications for peaceful uses.

24. We are the 6th most populous country in the world and so far, a fossil fuel deficient country. The energy supply and demand gap is increasing and strains our economic growth.

25. Additionally, Pakistan is a major victim of global climate change even though it contributes very little to the global greenhouse gas emissions. This situation calls for use of clean sources like nuclear energy that provide a reliable and base-load power generation capability. Base load power sources are the plants that operate continuously to meet the minimum level of power demand 24/7. Some clean sources of energy like solar and wind cannot independently pick the base load for obvious reasons.

26. That is why our reliance on nuclear power generation is increasing as a carbon emission free and reliable energy that seldom breaks down. You would be delighted to know that KANUPP and four power plants in Chashma provide 1430 MWe to national grid.

27. In last 47 years, KANUPP-1 (100 MWe capacity) has at times continuously operated for 167 days. One of the plants at Chashma (C-2, 330 MWe) has operated continuously for 302 days and at 97% capacity factor.

28. Pakistan plans to generate around 40,000 MWe from nuclear energy by 2050  a rough equivalent of ten Kalabagh Dams. I don’t mean to underplay the immense utility of building more dams –  besides electricity, they would provide water for agriculture and farming.

29. We are trying utmost to achieve the modest target 40,000 MWe for which we require access to international nuclear market, which is monopolised by a few under the cover of nonproliferation.

30. Our nuclear power generation goals are modest by international trends or that in our neighbourhood. Total 449 NPPs are in operation globally, producing around 400,000 MWe. 54 NPPs are under construction. When completed and in operation, these will add around 5000 MWe.

31. Pakistan’s pursuit for peaceful nuclear energy is constrained by the discriminatory barriers on nuclear commerce  I usually call it a neo-nuclear apartheid. We are actively engaged in overcoming these barriers and seek non-discriminatory access to nuclear technology.

Other Sectors

32. Ladies and Gentlemen: a few words about nuclear energy’s use in other sectors like health and agriculture.

33. Pakistan has established four agriculture centres that use energy for optimisation of important crop varieties, development of better methods for conservation of inputs and products, in addition to maximum use of innovative technologies.

34. Generally unsung, these research centres have made enormous contributions. For instance, more than 89 new high-yielding stress-tolerant crop varieties have been created, we have saline agriculture technology for economic utilisation of salt-affected lands, we have developed low-cost Laser Land Leveller that allows efficient irrigation and developed integrated pest management and sterile insect technique.

35. Unfortunately, we have one of the highest rates of cancer  especially amongst women. PAEC has established 18 hospitals that offer cancer treatment to around 0.8 million patients annually. These services will expand further.

36. Pakistan has invested extensively in developing indigenous capabilities and human resource to sustain our civil nuclear program. We have established state of the art training facilities and institutions that impart high level education to scientists and engineers, which form the backbone of our nuclear program.

37. Besides IAEA, Pakistan regularly participates in the European Organization for Nuclear Research (CERN) projects. Pakistan became the first country in the Asian region to gain Associate Membership of CERN in 2014.

38. We were also the founding member of Synchrotron-Light for Experimental Science and Applications in the Middle East (SESAME) in 2003.

39. We also interact with the World Association of Nuclear Operators (WANO), CANDU Owners Group and World Nuclear Association (WNA) with regards to enhancing safety of the nuclear power plants.

Safety and Security

40. Ladies and gentlemen: safety and security are integral part of any nuclear program and vital for saving humans from technology and ensuring that humans don’t misuse it.

41. We lay special emphasis on safety aspects and are fully aware that there is no room for complacency. Pakistan is party to the Convention on Nuclear Safety and applies latest IAEA safety standards. After Fukushima accident in 2011, we undertook an extensive review of our safety systems and response mechanisms.

42. Pakistan takes safety and security very seriously and considers

nuclear security a national responsibility.

43. We are a State party to Convention on the Physical Protection of Nuclear Material (CPPNM) and its 2005 Amended version and follow the latest IAEA guidelines. We are currently implementing Nuclear Security Action Program in corporation with the IAEA. The NSAP is being described as a model for other States.

44. Pakistan has been proactively engaging in the international forums to promote norms and good practices for fostering nuclear security. We have offered assistance to interested States with the experience and expertise we have gained in the areas of nuclear power generation, non-power application of nuclear technology, nuclear security and safety, under the auspices of IAEA.

45. Pakistan has a well-trained and equipped force for ensuring nuclear security. Our Nuclear Emergency Management System (NEMS) handles nuclear and radiological emergencies. Covering the entire range of activities, the mechanism has state-of-the-art equipment, mobile labs, technical guidance and countrywide connectivity. For the first responders, emergency response personnel and front-line officers are regularly trained.

46. In 2012, Pakistan established Center of Excellence for Nuclear Security (PCENS) which imparts security training based on international best practices and standards. PCENS is now functioning as a regional hub on all nuclear security aspects.

Nuclear Regulation

47. In order to ensure high quality safety and security, an independent body must oversee and regulate it. Pakistan Nuclear Regulatory Authority (PNRA) is an independent body that oversees and regulates all safety aspects of our nuclear program.

48. PNRA issues licenses for nuclear installation and production, storage, disposal, transportation, trade and use of nuclear materials. It enforces regulations based on IAEA standards in nuclear safety and radiation protection. Over time, PNRA has developed a sustainable nuclear safety regulatory system with established response and recovery capabilities for radiological sources. It has earned the respect and confidence of the IAEA because of its close coordination with the world body.

Exports Control

49. Pakistan has a comprehensive export control regime in place. The legislative, regulatory, administrative and enforcement measures that Pakistan has taken are at par with the multilateral export control regimes.

50. We have revised the National Export Control Lists, on the basis of European Union’s integrated system, and harmonized these with the controls maintained by the NSG, Australia Group, and MTCR.

51. Our National Detection Architecture also includes use of detection devices at several entry and exit points as well as other random check points to deter, detect, and prevent illicit trafficking of nuclear and radioactive materials.

Case for NSG

52. Ladies and Gentlemen: NSG was created in 1975, a year after Hindustan tested its first nuclear weapon after surreptitiously diverting technology it was provided for peaceful purposes. The Group of 49 States maintains a tight control over exports of nuclear technology so that history is not repeated.

53. Pakistan’s membership application is lying with NSG since 2016. We meet all but one of the credentials that the Group considers for membership. Like Hindustan and Israel, we are not parties to the Non-Proliferation Treaty.

54. Ironically, NSG has become increasingly politicised and discriminatory. In 2008, once NSG granted an exceptional trade waiver to Hindustan. In last 11 years, 12 countries have entered nuclear trade deals with New Delhi and supplied around 13000 metric tons of Uranium.

55. This surplus Uranium has further increased Hindustan’s capacity to use its abundant indigenous resources for making bombs! So, the group which was created as a consequence of Indian proliferation is now the party to its vertical proliferation.

56. This has compounded our security dilemma and increased the challenges of maintaining a credible minimum deterrence against Hindustan.

57. Pakistan calls for an end to this discrimination and expects that such duplicity and apartheid shall soon come to an end.

58. Our expertise in manufacturing nuclear and dual-use items, long history of supporting non-proliferation ideal, and other credentials makes us fit to participate in the NSG as a proactive member. It is a win-win for both.


59. My three key points are that:

a. Requirements of our socio-economic development demand that we must fully exploit nuclear and other clean sources of energy for eaceful purposes.

b. Nuclear energy is as clean as a whistle but it should be carefully managed. We have sterling management, safety and security standards. Pakistan must continue to maintain these to save people from radiation and save the sources of radiation from unauthorized access and irresponsible use.

c. By participating in NSG, Pakistan plans to constructively contribute to the global non-proliferation regime. We have the potential to supply items listed by the Group. NSG members shall benefit by offering membership to Pakistan because it is a state with complete program for harnessing peaceful uses of nuclear energy. Pakistan’s bid for NSG stands on solid grounds of technical experience, capability and well-established commitment to nuclear safety and security.


SORP/Speech RFI/5 Aug 2019

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