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Rethink Nuclear - Shut Down the Reactors: A Letter to Pakistan’s Atomic Energy Commission by Citizen’s Groups

by PILER, 30 March 2011

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March 29, 2011

Dr. Ansar Parvez
- Chairman PAEC Pakistan Atomic Energy Commission
- Islamabad.

Dear Mr. Parvez,

As you are aware, the earthquake-tsunami in Japan has led to a very high probability of human and ecological catastrophe due to nuclear reactors, mainly in Japan but also in neighbouring countries.

Following a powerful 9.0 magnitude earthquake off the Pacific coast on March 11, two nuclear power stations, Fukushima-Daiichi and Fukushima-Daini, with a total of ten reactors, suffered a loss of external power, necessitating the need for arrangements to cool reactors. Despite the best efforts of Asia’s richest government to address the crisis, there is serious threat of the meltdown of the core of the nuclear reactors leading to the transfer of highly radioactive into the environment.

Following Japan’s nuclear crisis, a number of countries are revisiting their nuclear programmes. China has already suspended approval of nuclear power projects, including those in the preliminary stages of development. Germany has called off the plan to extend the life of the country’s ageing nuclear power stations. The Swiss government also announced a halt to its nuclear plans because of safety concerns. The Italian government is considering a similar move, while Israel too is soon to announce a suspension of its forthcoming nuclear programmes.

In the wake of the unprecedented crisis in Japan and the resultant threat to human life, water bodies and the eco systems, and considering the response of the developed countries to re-think the direction of their nuclear policy, we are deeply concerned about the plans of the Government of Pakistan regarding protection of the citizens as well as the environment in the event of a natural disaster of similar proportions.

Nuclear facilities in Pakistan are precariously located, particularly the Karachi Nuclear Power Plant (KANUPP) that is stationed next to the coast. The Pakistan Atomic Energy Commission’s website too carries little information regarding the urgent concerns arising from the disaster in Japan. The information gap along with a disregard for environmental concerns while building and operating these plants, leaves citizens in a highly vulnerable position vis-Ã -vis any accident or natural disaster striking any of the country’s plants.

We believe it would be best to shut down all reactors across Pakistan and safely transport all radioactive materials to locations very distant from people and water bodies.

We hope that you would agree to take this prudent step.

In the meantime, we would request you to please share with us specific actions being taken urgently to minimise both the risks of and damages from KANUPP, to people and ecology of the Sindh coast in particular, and Karachi city and adjoining towns in general, that receive strong winds from the sea. Do also share with us details on the nature and extent of such minimal damages.

"A copy of the Karachi Emergency Relief Plan KERP" would be appreciated.


Karamat Ali
- Executive Director,
- Pakistan Institute of Labour Education & Research

Muhammad Ali Shah
- Chairperson,
- Pakistan Fisherfolk Forum