The deal dwarfs previous reactor projects built along with China at Chashma, in Pakistan’s interior. And it establishes a growing counterpoint to a nuclear axis between the United States and India in recent years that Pakistani officials have seen as an irritant and Chinese officials have seen as a geopolitical challenge.
Construction is to be completed in six years according to the Chinese ambassador to Pakistan, Sun Weidong, and officials from the Pakistan Atomic Energy Commission attended.
Officials said the new project is to be built around two new-model Chinese ACP-1000 nuclear reactors, with China also providing enriched uranium for fuel.
In September, the International Monetary Fund approved a $6.6 billion loan to help stabilize Pakistan’s struggling economy and tackle the energy crisis.
The new project is not without potential controversy. In the years since China and Pakistan agreed to build the first reactor at Chashma, China has joined both the Nuclear Nonproliferation Treaty and the Nuclear Suppliers Group, an agreement by 47 countries to limit exports of nuclear technology and materials. China is almost certain to deem the new projects as a “grandfathered” extension of the countries’ earlier nuclear deals signed before China joined the Nuclear Suppliers Group. (NYTimes, 11/26/2013)