Nuclear Energy in Pakistan: Harnessing the Power, Confronting the Complexities

A severe energy crisis has been plaguing Pakistan for a number of years due to an insufficient electricity supply and rising energy demand. The majority of the nation’s energy needs are met by costly and environmentally harmful non-renewable resources like oil and gas. The country’s social and economic development has additionally been negatively impacted by the energy crisis. Pakistan has implemented several measures in recent years to address the energy crisis and move toward renewable energy sources. Wind, solar, and hydropower plants are just some of the renewable energy initiatives undertaken by the Government. These projects have contributed to those objectives by reducing the nation’s reliance on non-renewable resources and diversifying the country’s energy mix.

Similarly, Pakistan is looking into alternative energy sources, and nuclear energy has emerged as a potential remedy. Nuclear power plants, though, have the capacity to generate a significant amount of electricity at a low cost and with little greenhouse gas emissions. Furthermore, Pakistan’s energy mix now includes nuclear energy as an important component. Pakistan had six nuclear power plants that were operational in 2022. Being able to produce a lot of electricity at a low cost is one of the nuclear power’s key benefits. Pakistan’s operating nuclear power plants have assisted the nation in diversifying its energy mix and lowering its reliance on fossil fuels. Additionally, by fostering local industries and creating job opportunities, nuclear power plants have made a significant contribution to the economic growth of the areas in which they are situated.

Besides, the main benefit of nuclear energy is its capacity to produce a lot of electricity at a reasonable price. The continuous operation makes nuclear power plants a dependable source of electricity. The drawbacks of nuclear energy, however, include issues with waste management, safety, and high initial costs. Therefore, nuclear power plant safety is of utmost concern, and any breach of safety procedures could have disastrous effects. Nuclear waste must also be properly managed because it is highly radioactive and must be disposed of safely. Whereas, natural resources like sunlight, wind, water, and geothermal heat are used to create non-polluting renewable energy sources. The sustainability and low environmental impact of renewable energy sources are their main advantages. These sources don’t produce hazardous waste or release greenhouse gases into the atmosphere like fossil fuels and nuclear power.

Furthermore, as traditional energy sources become more expensively comparable to renewable energy sources, a wider range of consumers and states can now access renewable energy. Despite that, nuclear energy has come to light in Pakistan as a potential solution to the state’s energy crisis. Pakistan’s energy mix has become more diverse, and its reliance on fossil fuels has decreased as a result of the operational nuclear power plants. However, the government of Pakistan has set a goal for the use of renewable energy sources, such as solar and wind power, to account for 60% of the nation’s total energy mix by 2030. For Pakistan to have a sustainable energy future, it is essential to develop both nuclear energy and renewable energy sources. Thus, future energy-related changes in Pakistan are anticipated to be significant. The government must put in place measures to promote the growth of renewable energy, like feed-in tariffs and net metering, in order to meet this goal.

Simultaneously, the dependability and stability of nuclear energy are two of its most important benefits. As opposed to renewable energy sources like wind and solar, which depend on the weather, nuclear power plants can run at full capacity for extended periods of time, ensuring a steady supply of electricity. In addition to emitting fewer greenhouse gases and being more environmentally friendly than fossil fuels, nuclear energy is a desirable option for halting climate change.

However, there are many significant problems with nuclear energy as well, such as risks associated with proliferation, management of waste, and safety issues. Complex machines like nuclear power plants need highly trained operators and cutting-edge technology to run safely. As evidenced by the Chernobyl and Fukushima accidents, a single malfunction can have disastrous effects. There are serious safety concerns due to Pakistan’s outdated power infrastructure and a shortage of trained personnel.

Similarly, another important concern for nuclear energy is the safe disposal of nuclear waste. Because it is highly radioactive, nuclear waste is dangerous for living things’ health. The government has taken action to address the issues, including investing in nuclear safety, establishing a nuclear regulatory authority, and creating a national strategy for the disposal of radioactive waste. Pakistan has also ratified international treaties and agreements on nuclear security, non-proliferation, and security as a symbol of its commitment to the peaceful use of nuclear technology.

Nadir Ali
Nadir Ali
Nadir Ali is associated with the Institute of Strategic Studies Islamabad (ISSI). He has written for Pakistan Today, Pakistan Observer, Global Affairs, and numerous other publishers. He tweets at @hafiznadirali7 and can be reached at hafiznadirali7[at]