Pakistan will soon start formal negotiations with the United States for acquiring nuclear power reactors to meet its energy needs for the next 25 years.
Informed sources told the Pakistani daily Dawn that the nuclear regulatory authorities of the two countries have already held exploratory talks on civilian nuclear cooperation.
Pakistan is currently building its third nuclear power station with the assistance of China and plans to set up 13 more such stations to generate 8,800 MW of electricity by the year 2030.
Although the anti-proliferation lobby in the United States is opposed to selling nuclear reactors to non-recognised nuclear weapons states, the sources said, the agreement concluded by the Bush administration with India last July to sell the country civil nuclear technology opens the doors for other countries to seek the same cooperation.
According to the sources, the forthcoming Islamabad-Washington talks aim at fulfilling Pakistan’s pressing energy needs.
Pakistan was seeking increased US support on nuclear cooperation to ensure energy security that had also been acknowledged by the Bush administration.
The Pakistan Atomic Energy Commission had asked Pakistani president General Pervez Musharraf to address the concerns of the US and the western world about proliferation by ensuring that the new plants would work under the “full safeguards” of the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA).
The government will ask the US and western countries to make investments in certain “designated zones and parks” by partly or fully owning the proposed 13 new nuclear power plants in the country, the AKI reports.