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Pakistan orders safety review of nuke plants


Pakistan’s nuclear regulator on Tuesday ordered a safety review of the country’s two atomic power plants in the wake of Japan’s nuclear disaster, warning that further steps could be required.
The Pakistan Nuclear Regulator Authority (PNRA) said it asked the Pakistan Atomic Energy Commission (PAEC) “to revisit the safety aspects of the nuclear power plants at Karachi and Chashma”.
Pakistan suffered a major 7.6 magnitude earthquake in October 2005 that killed 73,000 people and made more than three million others homeless in Kashmir and northwest, but its nuclear plants remained safe.
“PNRA will continue to study the accident at Fukushima and the response of Japanese and other regulatory authorities and may ask PAEC to take additional measures,” it said.
The authority said the nuclear power plants in Pakistan “do not pose any unwarranted radiation hazard” and operate on par with international standards.
China built a 300-megawatt nuclear power reactor at Chashma in Punjab province that went operational in 2000 and another of the same capacity is under construction. A plant in Karachi produces 50 megawatts.
China has also been contracted to build two more reactors at Chashma, officials have said.
Pakistan joined the club of nuclear-armed states in 1998. It scrambled to secure the technology after India’s first nuclear test in 1974, and is now believed to have up to 100 nuclear weapons.

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