China And Pakistan In Nuclear Power Engineering Essay


Methodology/Approach. The case study will chronological look at the different milestones achieved during the whole TOT process regarding this plant, the training of personnel, the installation of different modules, the transfer of Chinese expertise in the field and further more. PAEC engineers and scientists have acquired specialized training and know-how in the field of nuclear power. Moreover, they have been actively involved in plant design, construction, manufacturing and quality assurance. The research will be focused on giving a step by step module-building of the process and providing the reader with an in-depth analysis of the whole process.

Originality/Value. The case study will serve as a basic research paper for transfer of technology in this field in Pakistan and will provide the reader with an insight into the TOT process peculiarities associated with the local environment for future TOT plans.

Keywords. Turnkey

Paper Type. Case Study.


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Pakistan is the first Muslim country in the world to construct and operate civil nuclear power plants. The Pakistan Atomic Energy Commission (PAEC), the scientific and nuclear governmental agency, is solely responsible for operating these power plants. As of 2009, the electricity generated by commercial nuclear power plants constitutes roughly 2% of electricity generated in Pakistan, compared to 65% from fossil fuel, 33% from hydroelectric power and 0.3% from coal.

AS OF 2009

Fig 1 - Pakistan's Electricity Generation Sharing (2009)

Pakistan is one of the four nuclear armed states (along with India, Israel, and North Korea) that is not a party to the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty but is a member in good standing of the International Atomic Energy Agency. At present, Pakistan has three nuclear power plants (NPP) connected to the commercial grid, all under the umbrella of the Pakistan Atomic Energy Commission (PAEC). All three plants have basically been imported from friendly countries. KANUPP was imported from CANADA under the flagship of Canada General Electric (CGE) whereas CHASNUPP 1 and 2, both have been imported from China under the flagship of China National Nuclear Corporation (CNNC). Pakistan aims to boost its nuclear generation capacity three-fold by the year 2030. The construction of CHASNUPP 3 and 4 has already started under the same flagship of CNNC at Chashma, making it 4 identical reactors at the same site. Pakistan is embarking upon this aggressive path because its experience of transfer of technology in this filed has been more than successful. Given below is a breakdown of the existing nuclear power generation facilities in Pakistan.



Net Capacity (MW)

Signing of Contract

Start of Construction

Synchronization to National Grid

Full Power Operation

Completion of Contract


Chashma Nuclear Power Complex 1 (CHASNUPP-1)



31st Dec, 1991

3rd July, 1993

13th Jun, 2000

15th Sep, 2000

05 May, 2004


Chashma Nuclear Power Complex 2 (CHASNUPP-2)



May, 2004

8th April, 2005

14th Mar, 2011

Aug, 2011

Still Under Warranty


Karachi Nuclear Power Plant








Partially Operational at 100MWh since 2002 upon exceeding its design life; To be decommissioned in 2012

Table 1 - Pakistan's Existing Nuclear Power Generation Facilities

Literature Review

Some literature on the issue of transfer of technology in nuclear power generation was studied, for better understanding of TOT in this specialized field; its advantages, risks and hindering factors, all were covered in the relevant literature. A developing country planning its first nuclear power plant will have two principal goals - to get the plant constructed and to acquire practical know-how on design and engineering as well as all aspects of project management in order to reduce to a minimum its dependence on foreign contractors for later plants. The experience of many developing countries to date has been that the principal needs were personnel with practical experience in design, engineering, plant operations, installation of plant equipment, and in project management.

Nuclear power is a technically and economically competitive energy, immediately available on a large industrial scale. The introduction of nuclear power in a developing country gives rise to singular problems and considerations. Because of this, the experience gained in technology transfer in other areas of industrial development is more or less irrelevant. In 1975 the IAEA started a set of training courses designed to transfer experience in all aspects of nuclear power programme planning, project execution and power plant operation. A country embarking on a nuclear power programme must also create the necessary industrial infrastructure. This, however, should be directly planned alongside of the nation's industrial development programme and in scale with its energy supply and demand. For most developing countries it is not possible to develop a highly complex technology on a reasonable time-schedule using only domestic resources. Acquisition from abroad is the usual way to obtain a new technology. Normally this requires governmental involvement so as to secure continuity of the technology transfer, typically ensured by a bilateral co-operation agreement. This is today by far the most important channel for the transfer of nuclear technologies. Bilateral intergovernmental agreements are concluded in conjunction with the commercial contract for the nuclear power plants or nuclear facilities. The contract will usually provide for intimate technical and managerial co-operation between the purchaser and the vendor. Generally it is simpler to make these complex arrangements directly between the purchasing and supplying countries than through a third party. Argentina and Brazil are outstanding examples of successful bilateral co-operation in the joint development of the industrial infrastructure needed for a nuclear power programme.

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International co-operation in nuclear safety is another important aspect to be considered, since a serious nuclear accident could result in a grave setback to the wider use of nuclear power. Assistance to developing countries on nuclear safety should therefore go far beyond mere technology transfer. First of all, it is essential for the government of a country embarking on a nuclear power programme to establish a regulatory body responsible for full governmental surveillance and control with regard to all problems relevant to safety and environmental protection in the siting, construction, commissioning, operation, and decommissioning of nuclear power plants and nuclear facilities within its national boundaries. Because of the high investment requirements for nuclear power programmes, financing may prove another limiting factor to developing countries. The actual costs will depend on the available infrastructure, the cost of transition to a higher voltage level, and the cost of expanding the transmission and distribution system. Thus, it is apparent that the financing of a nuclear power programme must be seen as a major national effort which requires suitable long-term financing arrangements.

Another important factor which has limited the introduction of nuclear power in developing countries has been the relative unavailability of small- and medium-power reactors. It should be recognized however, that "going nuclear" with a small-power reactor will require nearly the same commitments to high technology with respect to manpower, infrastructure, and technology transfer, as a high-power reactor. However, constraints to nuclear trade are also political. Transfers of sensitive nuclear material, equipment and technology must be based on an effective international safeguards system that commands universal acceptance and respect. In this regard the work of the Committee on Assurance of Supply (CAS) should be mentioned as an attempt to formulate a framework for nuclear supplies in accordance with mutually accepted considerations of non-proliferation.

The transfer of nuclear technology is quintessentially a government to government decision, even though private manufacturers of the technology may be involved. The importing state is actively involved and its entire population is affected. In this respect, export of nuclear technology is altogether different from the export of consumer products. Moreover, electric-power generation from nuclear plants is typically a public utility having monopoly or quasi-monopoly status. The transfer to and use of hazardous technology by developing states raises distinct problems, including lack of sufficient information concerning the hazards of technologies, lack of sufficient expertise to monitor ongoing performance, and lack of experienced regulatory and administrative bodies. Although these insufficiencies are not the source of the exporters' liability proposed in this essay, they do serve to demonstrate that the exporter-importer relationship regarding a technology as advanced as that of nuclear power is not the normal everyday trade relationship between nations. Hence, it deserves careful, and, to some extent, autonomous consideration. The safety problems presented by the nuclear power plant manufactured by Westinghouse, and the collateral legal issues presented by the U.S. decision not to reveal those problems to the Philippine government was also studied in detail. Application of the doctrine of state responsibility for nuclear power exportation was also studied in detail.

Major concerns regarding the planned impacts from an NPP include:

• Impacts similar to those of a coal plant, including the dissipation of waste heat;

• Net energy and materials balance of the NPP over its lifetime, accounting for the complete nuclear fuel cycle;

• Net emissions of greenhouse gases associated with the NPP over its lifetime, accounting for the complete nuclear fuel cycle;

• Special impacts related to long-term management of radioactive waste from the NPP; and

• Releases of radioactive material, radiation exposures, and resulting adverse health effects associated with the NPP over its lifetime, accounting for the complete nuclear fuel cycle

During the planning process for a new NPP, it would be important to consider the flexibility and resilience of a proposed NPP design and alternative options. Those options would include alternative NPP sites and designs, together with other options to supply electricity or the services enabled by electricity. The economic issues associated with NPP acquisition are not limited to the economic feasibility of the acquisition. NPP acquisition could create economic impacts in the consumer country. One category of economic impacts would be the opportunity costs that can arise when some of a country's financial resources, human resources, political attention, and land are allocated to one investment rather than another. In the case of NPP acquisition, alternative investments would include renewable sources of energy, and projects to improve the efficiency with which electricity services (e.g., lighting, cooling) are delivered. If alternative investments could provide electricity services at a lower overall cost than would be incurred by acquiring the NPP, the difference would be the opportunity cost of the NPP acquisition.

Pre-Cursor - KANUPP - A TOT Between Canada and Pakistan

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The first Pakistani experience of Transfer of Technology in the field of nuclear power generation was the 125 MWe Karachi Nuclear Power Plant (KANUPP) which was imported from Canada. The contract was signed in 1965. Civil construction of KANUPP began in September 1965 and was completed by July 1971, following a 'turnkey' contract with the Canadian General Electric Company (CGE). The plant was formally inaugurated on 28 November 1972, however, the plant faced numerous challenges during its first two decades of operation. Following the withdrawal of vendor technical assistance and imposition of embargoes by major nuclear countries in 1976, connected to the Indian nuclear tests in May 1974, the plant sometimes had to be shut down for longer durations to carry out maintenance, modifications or repair. A committed self-reliance programme by PAEC and KANUPP, however, kept the plant operational throughout the difficult period. Incidentally, KANUPP is the only nuclear power plant in the world which has been operating without technical support from the vendor which is vividly indicative of PAEC's commitment to self-reliance.

Fig 2 - Karachi Nuclear Power Plant

Chashma Nuclear Power Plant (CHASNUPP I) - An Overview

The construction of Chashma Nuclear Power Plant Unit-1 (CHASNUPP-1), the second nuclear power plant in Pakistan, was started in 1992 with the help of People's Republic of China. It has been in commercial operation since September 2000. CHASNUPP-1 is a two-loop nuclear PWR plant with gross output of 325 MWe & net output of 300 MWe and life span of 40 years. The Plant is located in the province of Punjab near Chashma Barrage on the left bank of River Indus, 32 KMs south of Mianwali City, 280 km south-west of Islamabad.

Fig 3 - Chashma Nuclear Power Plant I

Transfer of technology was an important element of the project. PAEC engineers and scientists have acquired specialized training and know-how in the field of nuclear power. Moreover, they have been actively involved in plant design, construction, manufacturing and quality assurance. But this TOT programme was different from KANUPP since the origin of this plant was different and the technology was totally unique. This has proved beneficial for their active role in the indigenization programme of PAEC.

CHASNUPP I - Transfer of Technology Features

The whole success story of this Transfer of Technology had many salient features which need to be covered in detail. A few are elaborated accordingly.

The Contract. The agreement was made on the 19th of February, 1992 between Pakistan Atomic Energy Commission (PAEC, thereafter called the PURCHASER) and China National Nuclear Corporation (CNNC, thereafter called the CONTRACTOR). The main features of the contract were

The contract was titled 'AGREEMENT FOR 300 MWe PWR NPP (Nuclear Power Plant) TRANSFER OF TECHNOLOGY'

It was clearly stated that since the People's Republic of China and the Islamic Republic of Pakistan are member states of the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA), thus both parties support the objectives set forth by the IAEA, and China and Pakistan signed 'The Cooperation Agreement for Peaceful Use of Nuclear Power between the People's Republic of China and the Islamic Republic of Pakistan' in September 1986, with the emphasis that the cooperation in the field of nuclear energy is only for peaceful purposes.

The CNNC and PAEC signed the contract in the form of 'turnkey', to construct a 300 MWe PWR nuclear power plant (CHASNUPP 300), which is modified on the basis of China's Qinshan 300 MWe PWR NPP, at the site of Chashma in Pakistan.

The PAEC requires CNNC to transfer the technology concerning 300 MWe PWR NPP.

The CNNC agrees to transfer to PAEC the design, construction and manufacturing technology concerning 300 MWe PWR NPP which is within the control of CNNC. CNNC also agrees to assist PAEC on the transfer of technology from suppliers/contractors of other equipment in China which are not within the capability of CNNC.

PAEC may require additions to the extent and fields of TOT during the validity period of the Contract. Such additions shall be incorporated in TOT agreement after the mutual discussion and agreement as and when necessary.

The agreement is written both in Chinese and English, but only the English text shall have legal efficacy.

Fig 4 - Contract Signing Ceremony of CHASNUPP I in Beijing

The Scope of Transfer of Technology. The scope of TOT was clearly defined in the TOT contract. Both CNNC and PAEC agreed that the technology transfer shall be carried out in the following 5 parts:

300 MWe PWR NPP design information, design methodology, computer codes and relevant R&D test information.

300 MWe PWR NPP equipment manufacturing technology owned by CNNC.

Civil engineering and installation technology.

300 MWe PWR NPP commissioning technical information.

Design participation in the 300 MWe CHASHMA PWR NPP and training for qualified PAEC technical personnel.

Form of TOT and Documentation Delivery Schedule. Agreement included the technology transfer schedule and the form in which the technology will be transferred, in elaborate details. The salient points were

CNNC shall provide PAEC with the clear and correct documents and calculation programs. The design documents and drawings shall be of high quality.

CNNC shall accept PAEC personnel for taking part in relevant activities agreed by both parties ad shall provide necessary technical guidance and skill training.

The training format was clearly defined in the TOT contract as:

Design. In China, Pakistani technical personnel shall take part in practical design. Chinese experts might be sent to Pakistan to present lectures as requested by PAEC.

Civil Engineering and Installation. Some Pakistani technical personnel, if required, shall be trained in China while the main training shall be carried out on the Pakistani site.

Commissioning. Some Pakistani technical personnel shall be trained in China while the main training shall be carried out on the Pakistani site.

Manufacturing. In China.

Computer Software. In China.

CNNC shall be responsible for the establishment of training program, and shall present it to PAEC two months after the agreement coming into effect. The program shall be reviewed by PAEC and comments forwarded to CNNC within 15 days for evolution of an agreed program. While establishing the training program, the following objectives shall be taken into consideration.

Understanding the methodologies and the evolution of design documents.

Raising background knowledge of the trainees to a level where they can understand the design information fully.

Participation in the actual design activities of the contract plant for PAEC.

CNNC shall present to PAEC the various documents specified (in the contract) in 4 time-specified groups, in accordance with the progress of the project.

PAEC shall submit the qualification documents of its trainees to CNNC for review, three months prior to the start of training. The first batch of training and design participation will start 7 ½ months after the date of coming into effect of the TOT agreement.

No trainees shall be accepted without being confirmed by CNNC in advance.

The technical documents (in duplicate) shall be delivered by air.

Working Language. The working language for technology transfer was agreed upon as English (in contract). It was agreed that the reference information in original language available in CNNC's design office / library can be used for consultation by PAEC trainees/participants. It was further agreed that in the entire course of the implementation of the TOT agreement, all the communications between the concerned personnel of both parties shall be in English.

Right of Use and Information Feedback. In the agreement, CNNC granted PAEC, on a royalty free basis, the non exclusive, non transferable rights of using CNNC's information to design, manufacture, use and sell nuclear products located or to be located in Pakistan. Furthermore, PAEC guaranteed that all the technologies transferred by CNNC to PAEC shall not be transferred or disclosed to any third country, applicable to any third party in Pakistan using CNNC technology provided by PAEC. It was also agreed upon that the development and verification achievement of PAEC by using the technology which CNNC has transferred shall be feedback to CNNC free of charge.

Design Information / Documentation. The TOT agreement specifically included the 300 MWe PWR unit design information documents which had to be transferred from CNNC to PAEC. These included various documents relating to Standard Design Criteria, Radiation Analysis Design Information, Design Transients, Containment Criteria and Specifications, Control and Protection Functional Requirements, Nuclear Fuel Design Information and Computer Programs, to name a few. It also included documents relating to Equipment Manufacturing Technology owned by CNNC, Civil Engineering and Installation Technology, Commissioning Technical Information and Quality Assurance. Delivery schedule of these documents and computer programs was incorporated into the TOT agreement and strictly followed later on for smooth functioning.

Design Participation and Training for Qualified PAEC Technical Personnel. The training schedule and participation was outlined in the TOT agreement and was fully materialized by both parties. The training achievement was depicted in the form of person-months for PAEC personnel. Technical manpower certainly benefitted from a vigorous technology transfer regime through training, which has definitely worked wonders for the smooth functioning of the plant since its commissioning. A total of 218 persons were selected to undergo training in 6 different fields, achieving a grand total of 1629 person-months in the process, over a period of 12 months.


CHASNUPP I is a success story of transfer of technology in the nuclear power generation field between China and Pakistan. The success has not only been gauged by the performance of the plant itself, but by the immense benefit PAEC has rendered from this TOT. Not only does PAEC now have a clear picture of the plant and its working, it now also takes part in design modification for later plants to follow. PAEC now has a trained pool of human resource that has hands on experience on this type of Chinese nuclear reactor which will not only help in the future development of CHASNUPP 3 and 4, but also help in the self-reliance programme of PAEC, i.e. design of a fully indigenous Pakistani nuclear reactor. Analyzing the TOT programme for this nuclear power plant, we find it a classical case to be followed. First of all, the contract is written in a well defined text in which all parameters and paraphernalia have been covered in elaborate details. The cost, scope, degree and extent of technology transfer have all been clearly defined in the contract.