A short research paper on the development of Pakistan's nuclear program

  • View
    804

  • Download
    2

Embed Size (px)

DESCRIPTION

Although it must be noted that this was written in 2001, and some information might have changed over time.

Transcript

Development of the Nuclear Power Industry in Pakistan

Adeel Khan HST 701 History of Science and Development Ryerson University June 7, 2001

Adeel KhanIntroduction

Ryerson University June 2001

Since the first energy crisis hit the world in 1973, there has been a desperate search for finding a solution to the problem. The developed countries have a better infrastructure and a more stable economic environment for nuclear power establishment then the developing nations. They are also mostly in a entangled in political disorder, corruption, financial turmoil or simply, all of them. The idea for the development of nuclear technology in Pakistan originated in the 1950s, and to date has been able to develop two commercial nuclear power plants along with several other nuclear-related sites. In this paper, all the details regarding the development of the nuclear industry in Pakistan will be put forth.

The need for Nuclear Technology After Pakistan lost East Pakistan (which is now Bangladesh) in a war in 1971, it also lost the perceived right to be considered Indias equal from the military viewpoint. The 1974 Indian nuclear tests further disturbed the equation. With two bitter wars against India, a third one could not be ruled out. An acute shortage of energy also compounded to the problem. Pakistan more frequently resorted to load shedding (withholding electric power for specific periods of time). Simultaneously, its major source of energy the natural gas was seriously depleted by excessive use, while the rate of energy consumption increased by 15% per annum. Thus, they had all the many reasons for the development of nuclear technology.1

1

Shahid Burki, Pakistan Fifty Years of Nationhood (Colorado: Westview Press, 1999), p.207

Adeel Khan

Ryerson University June 2001

1955 1965: The origins of Nuclear establishment In 1955, a scientists committee was set up by the government to prepare a comprehensive nuclear energy scheme followed by the formation of a high-powered Pakistan Atomic Energy Commission (PAEC) in 1956. It comprised of the following members: Nazir Ahmed (Chairman), M. Raziuddin Siddiqui (Member in charge of planning and research), Salimuzzaman Siddiqui, M.O. Ghani and M.H. Toosi.2 Nazir Ahmed was an experimental physicist who worked at the Cavendish Laboratory under Ernest Rutherford. M. Siddiqui is a mathematical physicist who had been taught by the likes of some great scientists namely, Albert Einstein, Paul Dirac, Werner Heisenberg, etc. So there were some intelligent minds to power the Pakistani campaign for nuclear production. In the first ten years of its inception, PAEC was devoted to the task of giving individuals adequate training and expertise in the usage of sophisticated equipment. Several hundred scientists and engineers were carefully selected and sent to Harewell in the United Kingdom, and the Argonne, Oakridge, and Brookhaven fin the United States, for training under the Atoms for Peace program and other such bilateral arrangements.3 After five years, PAEC acquired a research reactor with a power of 5 MW and it was installed in Islamabad.4 The Pakistan Institute of Nuclear Science and Technology (PINSTECH) was built around the reactor. Since then, it has been used to for the purpose of training, research, and radioisotope production since then. The institute also set Radiation Centers in Islamabad, Karachi, and Lahore among others. In 1961, Abdus Salam, a physicist and Nobel Laureate for his works in the

James Katz and Onkar Marwah, Nuclear Power in Developing Countries (Toronto and Lexington: Lexington Press, 1982), p.263 3 Ibid., p.263 4 Daniel Poneman, Nuclear Power in the Developing World (London: George Allen and Unwin Publishers Ltd., 1982), p.40

2

Adeel Khan

Ryerson University June 2001

interactions in elementary particles, was appointed as an honorary scientific advisor to the commission.

1965 1974: Initiation of the Nuclear Power Program In 1965-1966, PAEC decided to acquire its first nuclear power reactor. Westinghouse of Canada came to the fore, after some reasonable agreements regarding credit facilities and a suitable reactor, and thus an atomic reactor of 137 MW generating capacity was set up.5 It is a heavy-water reactor and uses natural uranium as fuel. The fuel (or most of it) was being supplied by Canada. The plant also has the production facility for heavy water. It went critical in 1971 and one year later started to provide electricity to Southern Pakistan.6 Since the time of the purchase of the reactor, arrangements were being made with the manufacturers to train Pakistani personnel on the job. Thus, Pakistani engineers and scientists gradually reached a point when they exercised complete control of the facilities. During the same period a training school at the Karachi Nuclear Power Plant (KANUPP) was also started for similar purposes. In 1971, newly elected President Zulfiqar Bhutto made several changes in the atomic commission; notable among them was the induction of I. H. Usmani, the then director of the Reactor Section at the IAEA in Vienna. Having gained confidence by the performance of the Karachi reactor PAEC forged ahead to expand its program.

5 6

James Katz and Onkar Marwah, Nuclear Power in Developing Countries, p.264 Ibid., p.264

Adeel Khan

Ryerson University June 2001

1974 - 1984: Establishment of the Nuclear Industry The period between 1974 and 1984 mostly saw Pakistan establish several nuclear-related sites throughout the country. Even as the governments quickly changed hands and the Pakistani rupee showed signs of weakness, development of nuclear power was seldom affected. In 1974, India confirmed its nuclear prowess by conducting a peaceful underground nuclear test. Highly dependable multiple reports from Pakistan suggested that the process of weaponizing its nuclear technology was underway. This coupled with Indias tests were good enough reasons for the United States to impose sanctions on the two countries. Keeping in mind that Canada can anytime discontinue its nuclear-related supplies, PAEC decided to build a fuel fabrication plant at Kundian. Construction of a uranium-enrichment plant also commenced the same year.7 In 1975, PAEC decided to erect a second power plant. Construction went underway the same year and the plant was expected to generate 400 to 600 MW.8 The plant was located in Chasma, central Punjab. The plan, however, failed to materialize mainly due to inadequate funds and lack of expertise on the projects. The venture at Chasma, however, was later undertaken by China. Another setback occurred, in 1976, when Canada halted its supply of nuclear fuel for KANUPP. Even after the social chaos and economic shakiness that followed the civil war, PAEC was committed to move forward. Plans to augment nuclear fuelgeneration were not halted, though they were slowed due to renewed emphasis on self-sufficiency. The result was a major win situation. On August 31, 1980, Pakistan had joined a select list of twelve technologically advanced nations that are able to manufacture nuclear fuel from uranium. The site of the fuel-fabrication plant was Kundian. This reportedly saved the country around 2 billion rupees ($40 million)7

Andrew Koch and Jennifer Topping, Pakistans Nuclear Weapons Program: A Status Report, Monterey Institute of International Studies (1999), p.3 8 Ernest Lefever, Nuclear Arms in the Third World (Washington: The Brookings Instituite, 1979), p.42

Adeel Khan

Ryerson University June 2001

annually,9 apart from guaranteeing fuel supply and foreign dependence on costly imported oil. The smooth fuel supply increased KANUPPs generation from 35 MW to 90 MW.10 In 1984, the uranium-enrichment plant project was successfully completed in Kahuta. Simultaneously, the resources of A. Qayyum Khan, a German trained physicist, were rendered when Khan Research Laboratory (KRL) was installed in Kahuta to overlook the plant. In addition to Kahuta, two other smaller centrifuge facilities were ordered for construction in Golra and Silaha.11 It was planned that the Golra facility may be used to test advanced centrifuge designs before they are installed at Kahuta. There are, nevertheless, some facilities that have not been made official. There are others of whom only very limited information is available. Following is a list of them: Unsafeguarded heavy water production facility in Multan with a capacity of 13 MT / year The unsafeguarded Khushab reactor is reportedly also the site of a tritium production facility. The task was completed in 1987 with German assistance A plutonium reprocessing plant at Chasma. Construction was reportedly completed in 1998 A Uranium Hexaflouride Conversion plant in Dera Ghazi Khan Uranium mills in three possible locations: Lahore, Dera Ghazi Khan and Issa Khel Two Uranium mines are also said to exist in Dera Ghazi Khan and Lakki

9

James Katz and Onkar Marwah, Nuclear Power in Developing Countries, p.268 Ibid. , p.268 11 Andrew Koch and Jennifer Topping, Pakistans Nuclear Weapons Program: A Status Report, p.610

Adeel Khan

Ryerson University June 2001

The Pakistan Ordinance Factory at Wah is considered a major site for weaponization. The factory possesses expertise in fusing, high explosives, and heavy machining.12

1985 2000: Development of the Nuclear Industry Since 1985, after most of the nuclear facilities were installed, concentration shifted to the production side. But the onus was on weaponization rather then electrification. In the early 1980s, multiple reports were said that Pakistan was about obtaining pre-tested bomb design from China along with bomb-grade uranium.13 In 1986, Pakistan and China signed a pact for the exchange of nuclear technology, including design, cons