Home Global Village Pakistan’s nuclear plants are heavily protected: IAEA Chief

Pakistan’s nuclear plants are heavily protected: IAEA Chief

nuclear plants
  • 4.1K
    Shares

News Analysis |

The Director General of the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) Yukiya Amano praised security arrangements of nuclear plants in Karachi. Mr. Amano visited the plants on Wednesday.

At a seminar organized at a hotel in Karachi, Mr. Amano spoke about the success that Pakistan has had in the field of nuclear technology, adding that Pakistan and the IAEA enjoyed a close relationship. This was his second visit to Pakistan. The seminar was titled ‘The Peaceful Uses of Nuclear Energy and Pakistan’ and was jointly organized by the Centre for International Strategic Studies (CISS) and the Pakistan Institute of International Affairs (PIAA).

The target is to ensure that the global average temperature does not increase by 2 degrees Celsius by 2030. Pakistan is a country that is vulnerable to changes in climate, since agriculture is the largest employment sector in Pakistan.

Pakistan officially became a nuclear power in 1998. The US, however, imposed sanctions on Pakistan in its anti-nuclear proliferation campaign. There have been ‘concerns’ raised, particularly in America and India that Pakistan was not capable of being a responsible nuclear power. An op-ed in the New York Times argued that ‘the world must secure Pakistan’s Nuclear Weapons’. There have been speculations that the US military bases in Afghanistan are meant to keep an eye on Pakistan’s nuclear weapons.

Indeed, Jeffrey Goldberg, editor at The Atlantic, one of the oldest and most prestigious American news magazine, also argued that the Pentagon must keep an eye on Pakistan’s nuclear weapons and that the Pentagon has a ‘secret plan’ to ‘secure’ Pakistan’s nuclear weapons. The argument goes that instability in Pakistan may allow terrorist groups to grab Pakistan’s nukes.

Read more: US recognition that aid suspension to Pakistan will not Pay off

Pakistan has vehemently denied such claims. Furthermore, Pakistan has, at the very least, better nuclear security than India’s. According to a report by the Belfer Center for Science and International Affairs at the Harvard Kennedy School, ‘its [India’s] nuclear security measures may be weaker than those of Pakistan. Furthermore, US officials have ranked India’s nuclear security measures as ‘extraordinary low-key’, adding that India’s nuclear stockpile is vulnerable to theft. Washington, however, has not pressed New Delhi to improve its security arrangements as the partnership between them is booming.

Agriculture depends on the climate. Mr. Amano also pointed out the increasing importance of nuclear energy by saying that ‘We see steady growth of nuclear power. We need to address climate change; nuclear power is one of the very effective responses.’ 

The US itself is running its nuclear program on outdated technology. Floppy disks are still being used by the US army and nuclear weapons are all set to fire on 1970s technology. There have been at least a couple of incidents when the US nearly detonated an atomic bomb on its own territory. According to a 2007 report by the International Institute for Strategic Studies (IISS) in London:

‘A robust command and control system is now in place to protect Pakistan’s nuclear assets from diversion, theft and accidental misuse. For the most part, these measures have been transparent and have worked well. Indeed, Pakistan’s openness in explaining its command and control structures goes beyond the practices adopted by most other nuclear-capable states.’ Nuclear weapons are, of course, not the only dimension of nuclear energy.

Read more: Defeat is an Orphan: How Pakistan Lost the Great South…

This is what the Director General of the IAEA reiterated at the seminar in Karachi. “I come to your country to share latest priorities of IAEA. In the public’s mind IAEA prevents [the spread of] nuclear weapons. But IAEA’s work covers other scientific issues as well,” he said.  “Our focus is to transfer knowledge and technology, especially to developing countries. Nuclear power is an important area of cooperation between Pakis­tan and IAEA.”

Mr. Amano also added that nuclear weapons shouldn’t be limited to the developing countries alone. Underscoring the purpose of IAEA, the director general said, “Our focus is to transfer knowledge and technology, especially to developing countries. Nuclear power is an important area of cooperation between Pakis­tan and IAEA,” adding that he was motivated by the IAEA motto of ‘atoms for peace and development.’

Jeffrey Goldberg, editor at The Atlantic, one of the oldest and most prestigious American news magazine, also argued that the Pentagon must keep an eye on Pakistan’s nuclear weapons and that the Pentagon has a ‘secret plan’ to ‘secure’ Pakistan’s nuclear weapons.

Speaking about how Kanup II and Kanup III plants, he said, “Your country needs more electricity and you are committed to nuclear safety.” According to the Ministry of Finance, Nuclear energy constitutes 2% of Pakistan’s energy mix while hydrocarbons make up nearly 65%. Oil imports exert a burden on the national exchequer of Pakistan. Nuclear plants have a higher capital cost but their running cost is lower as compared with coal. Furthermore, plants running on nuclear energy are comparatively environment friendly.

Read more: India’s flirtation with the ‘war talk’ has Nuclear war clouds hovering…

Having more nuclear power plants will help Pakistan’s economy and energy sector in the long-run. Mr. Amano also said that energy is ‘indispensable’ for development, adding that the goals of the Paris Agreement, which Pakistan is a party to, cannot be achieved without increasing reliance on nuclear energy. The Paris agreement was reached at 21st Conference of Parties (COP21) between 195 countries.

It is historic because virtually the entire world agreed to limit their carbon footprint by shifting to green energy. This would help reduce greenhouse gas emissions. The target is to ensure that the global average temperature does not increase by 2 degrees Celsius by 2030. Pakistan is a country that is vulnerable to changes in climate, since agriculture is the largest employment sector in Pakistan. And agriculture depends on the climate. Mr. Amano also pointed out the increasing importance of nuclear energy by saying that ‘We see steady growth of nuclear power. We need to address climate change; nuclear power is one of the very effective responses.’ 

1 COMMENT

Comments are closed.