Ever since, Pakistan gained independence in 1947, it has suffered with a sense of insecurity as it is bordered on one side by its arch-enemy India, and this feeling of insecurity led the decision-makers to strive towards a balance of power with India. Many of the country’s brightest and sharpest minds had put years of tireless effort into this endeavour. The work led to first the establishment of the Pakistan council of Scientific and Industrial Research (PCSIR) in 1951.
Engr. Parvez Butt (1942 – onwards)
– By NUST Science Society
Engr. Parvez Butt, nuclear engineer by profession, is a well-known name in Pakistan. He served the Nuclear Program of Pakistan for more than 43 years, where he played a leading role in developing country’s indigenous nuclear-mechanical engineering capabilities. He was also involved in design, installation, operation, and maintenance of Pakistan’s first nuclear power plant, the KANUPP (Karachi Nuclear Power Plant).
Engr. Butt was born on October 4, 1942, in Gujranwala, Punjab, British-India. At age 16, he was admitted to University of Engineering and Technology, Lahore, with a full scholarship. In 1962, he graduated and received his BS in Mechanical Engineering. After his graduation, Engr. Butt was employed in Pakistan Atomic Energy Commission (PAEC), where he did his post-graduate research. He was awarded PAEC scholarship in 1964 to study at University of Toronto, where he received his MS in Nuclear Engineering in 1966.
He rendered his services to KANUPP for 19 years. In 1984, Engr. Butt was appointed as Director of PAEC, and in 1994, he was appointed as Director General and Member (Power) of the PAEC. As member (power) of PAEC, he was responsible for all activities related to Nuclear Fuel and Power. He also served as the Chairman PAEC for five years, starting in 2001. During his tenure as the Chairman, PAEC prospered in various areas of activities and expanded with creation of numerous new organizations. He was elected as the Vice Chairman of the IAEA (International Atomic Energy Agency) BOG in 2005. After his retirement from the PAEC in 2006, he was appointed as the Federal Secretary, Ministry of Science and Technology, Government of Pakistan.
Engr. Butt has been decorated with prestigious national awards which include the Sitara-e-Imtiaz and the Hilal-e-Imtiaz in 1993 and 1999 respectively.
He possesses a personality filled with a fortune of qualified expertise and an unconditional dedication to advancement of atomic energy in Pakistan.
Dr. Ishrat Hussain Usmani (1917-1992)
– By NUST Science Society
Dr. Ishrat Hussain played a pivotal role in the initial development of Pakistan Atomic Energy Commission (PAEC) and was a major contributor in the establishment of PINSTECH, thus forming the foundation of civilian nuclear program in Pakistan. Head of “Atom for Peace” conferences by International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA), he was a strong advocate of use of nuclear technology for peaceful purposes. Dr. Ishrat played an important role in establishment of Regional Centers of alternative energy in Senegal and Sri Lanka, Nuclear Institute for Agriculture and Biology (NIAB) in Faisalabad, and Nuclear Institute for Food and Agriculture (NIFA) in Islamabad. KANUPP (Karachi Nuclear Power Project) was the result of his years of hard work.
Dr. Ishrat was born on 15th April in Aligarh, India. He completed his B.Sc. (Hons.) in Physics from Aligarh Muslim University and Masters from University of Bombay. He wrote his thesis in 1939 entitled “A study of the growth of compound crystals by electron diffraction” which was supervised by renowned scientist Niels Bohr and, hence, completed his doctorate from Imperial College of Science & Technology. He passed Indian Civil Services (ICS) examination with distinction in 1942.
Dr. Ishrat was the chairman of PAEC from 1960 to 1972. He served as Co-Chairman of Pakistan Space and Upper Atmosphere Research Commission (SUPARCO) and Chairman of Board of Governors of IAEA from 1962 to 1963. He also rendered his services for United Nations as Senior Energy Advisor from 1974 to 1978. Also, he was the Secretary General of International Foundation for the New and Emerging Sciences and Technologies (NEST).
He was awarded Nishan-i-Imtiaz (Pakistan’s highest civilian award) in 1998. He retired at the age of 74 and passed away after a year at the age of 75 on 17th of June.
A Dead Power Plant That Can Kill
– By Kunwer Faran, NUST Science Blog
October 21st, 2011. Dawn reports a heavy water leakage at Karachi Nuclear Power Plant (KANUPP) following which the plant was shut down for an indefinite period. The plant was already not in working condition since 5th of October for maintenance work and the fault occurred during maintenance. The authorities claim that this leakage didn’t prove to be much hazardous. Experts, however, believe that the plant can prove to be extremely hazardous anytime. Its lifetime got expired years ago, its boilers need an immediate replacement, and it is situated in the vicinity of three seismic lines, which have become more active after the tsunami of Japan, making the plant more dangerous. Also, this plant resides next to the biggest city of the country and residential areas are expanding towards the plant rapidly. It has been producing nothing but extreme danger and digesting our taxes for around two months now.
Consider you have a car which doesn’t work but you tow it once in a while, take it to the mechanic, throw some money on it and tow it back home. The car can also explode anytime, killing everyone around. Would you keep such a machine or sale it out in scrap and use the money in buying a new one instead? Unless you are too sympathetic for the mechanic, you will do what any sensible person would, but it seems our authorities are just too concerned for the mechanics and can’t risk the livelihood of people maintaining a useless power plant which can explode anytime.
We are a humble nation, we don’t question much. We don’t raise voice when people governing us spend millions of our taxes to fuel their private jets, create play areas for their grandchildren or get tiles installed in their bathrooms worth a few millions. We are fine with this. But risking the lives of a few generations (nuclear radiation affect generations following the one which got exposed to it) for corruption of a few million rupees is a little unacceptable. After the nuclear disaster occurred in Fukushima-Daiichi and Fukushima-Daini – Japan, United Kingdom had instituted a study to evaluate the effects of the Japanese accident on UK, which is practically on the other side of the globe, and in our case, main Karachi is in the vicinity of less than a few hundred miles of the plant. The authorities are humbly requested to resort to safer means of corruption and either upgrade or shut down the plant permanently.