The first of two reactors being constructed in the Punjab region of Pakistan by Chinese companies has passed a significant milestone with the emplacement of its dome.

The operation to fit the dome was completed on 6 March, China’s State Nuclear Power Technology Company (SNPTC) reported. Two 340 MWe pressurised water reactors (PWRs) are under construction at the site, which has China Zhongyuan Engineering as the general contractor and China Nuclear Industry No.5 Construction Company as installer. The reactor design was provided by the Shanghai Nuclear Engineering and Research Design Institute.

Chashma 3 and Chashma 4 are expected to begin commercial operation in 2016 and 2017 respectively, although SNPTC said that the unit 3 dome lift was carried out ahead of schedule. The new units will add to the generation already provided by Chashma 1 and 2 — 300 MWe PWRs also supplied by China. Only one other power reactor operates in the country, a 125 MWe pressurised heavy water reactor at Karachi (Kanupp). All units are owned and operated by the state-owned Pakistan Atomic Energy Commission.

Pakistan is not a party to the non-proliferation treaty and therefore is not generally permitted to purchase nuclear technologies and materials. The reactors being built are subject to specific International Atomic Energy Agency safeguard arrangements.

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