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ISLAMABAD: Pakistan and China signed a $4.8 billion deal on Tuesday to build a 1,200-megawatt nuclear power plant, Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif said, hailing the investment by a country that Pakistan views as its most dependable ally.

Work on the Chashma 5 project would begin immediately, Sharif said on state-run news channel PTV following the signing of the memorandum of understanding (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.

China delivers two Hualong-1 nuclear power units

The Chashma 5 project will be built in the central province of Punjab. China’s support will help Pakistan make the transition away from reliance on fossil fuels.

Pakistan’s total nuclear energy production capacity rose to 1,400 mw, when the country’s sixth nuclear power plant opened two years ago. Located in the southern port city of Karachi, that 1,100 mw plant was also constructed with Chinese assistance.

Sharif, whose government is desperately struggling to stave off a balance of payments crisis, thanked the Chinese partners for offering a $100-million discount for the latest project.

It is unclear whether the new investment is part of the $65 billion that China has pledged in infrastructure building for Pakistan under its Belt and Road Initiative.

The new project was originally planned to start a couple of years ago, and Sharif expressed thanks to the Chinese side for not rescheduling costs despite the long delay. Instead, he said, the Chinese had disbursed an initial 30 billion Pakistani rupees ($104.53 million) to start the project.

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Tulukan Mairandi Jun 21, 2023 10:10am
This plant uses novel indigenous Chinese nuclear technology that is untested even in China. The Chinese, knowing the risks, are looking to test it beyond their borders, and we are foolishly celebrating it. These chinese plants also come with zero third party liability insurance. One PDM crony will eventually make millions out of it at our expense.
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Arshad Jun 21, 2023 11:15am
The Neelum–Jhelum Hydropower Plant was also built by the CHINESE engineers with a whopping cost of 5.1B$. It was shut down due to major cracks in the tail-race tunnel on July 6, 2022. It is expected to resume power generation from July 2023. Yes, we are paying interest every day...........
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Fazeel Siddiqui (Overseas Pakistani) Jun 21, 2023 11:51am
Another lie of PML-N and another project that will not yield, it must be a loan with a lot of kickback, this loan along with past multi billion dollars loans will be paid by their voter poor public of Pakistan throughout lifetime of Pakistan.
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