Emergency was declared for seven hours at the Karachi Nuclear Power Plant (KNUPP) on Tuesday night after heavy water leaked from a feeder pipe to the reactor. Officials maintained that there was no radiation and the leakage occurred during maintenance checks.

The leakage was noticed around midnight and the affected area isolated immediately. The emergency was lifted at 7 in the morning on Wednesday and officials said the situation was completely under control.

The plant had been shut since October 5 and will become operational in four-to-five weeks. The leakage has delayed reopening of the KANUPP which supplies 80 MW of power to the Karachi Electric Supply Company.

This leakage comes at a time when there is considerable apprehension across the world over the safety and security of Pakistan’s nuclear facilities; particularly warheads in view of the precarious security situation within the country.

Owned and operated by the Pakistan Atomic Energy Commission, KANUPP is a single unit CANDU PHWR with a total gross capacity of 137 MW. It is located at Paradise Point on the arid Arabian Sea coast, about 20 km west of Karachi and has been in commercial operation since 1972. Manufactured by Canadian General Electric, its 30 year nominal design life period ended in 2002 after which the operating license was renewed.

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