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Pak-China Agree to Joint Uranium Enrichment Efforts

By TR Pakistan

An agreement signed between Chinese and Pakistani authorities paves the way for further cooperation in the field of nuclear energy.

Both countries will cooperate for uranium exploration and mining under the agreement inked between the China National Nuclear Corporation (CNNC) and the Pakistan Atomic Energy Commission (PAEC) at a ceremony on July 30.

The World Nuclear News has reported that scientists from Chinese nuclear research institutes and an aerial remote sensing centre would work with their Pakistani counterparts for promotion of uranium development objectives of the two countries.

Read more: A tale of two Energy Policies

Nuclear chemistry industry of China would also play an active role in activities to be planned under the agreement.

Capacity building of those employed in the nuclear technology sector would be an important activity to be carried out under the agreement, according to the World Nuclear News.

The CNNC has already exported four 300 MWe reactors to Pakistan and is in the process of constructing two 1,000 MWe units.

Pakistan-China cooperation in the field of nuclear technology dates back to the 1970s.

Both countries entered into their first bilateral agreement in that decade, allowing Pakistan to receive Chinese assistance for uranium enrichment. Following the agreement, China provided Pakistan with uranium hexafluoride, a chemical compound used in uranium enrichment, and nuclear weapons designs.

Both countries jointly worked on a heavy water reactor in 1987 in Khushab district of Punjab province.

According to Radio Pakistan, the two countries entered into their first agreement that focused on peaceful uses of atomic energy in 1986. This led to construction of two light water reactors at the Chashma Nuclear Power Complex.

Later, a third nuclear power plant was built at Chashma with joint efforts of the two countries. It was inaugurated in December 2016. The fourth plant at Chashma is under construction and is expected to become operational by October this year.

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