by Staff Writers
Islamabad (AFP) May 20, 2016
Pakistan has applied for membership of a nuclear suppliers group saying its inclusion would help reduce the proliferation of nuclear weapons, the foreign ministry said Friday.
The country has long sought membership to the Nuclear Suppliers Group (NSG) to access civilian nuclear technology and to also become a supplier of parts, material and services.
Pakistan -- and rival India -- is nuclear-armed and operates civilian atomic plants. It is one of the few developing countries pursuing atomic energy in the wake of Japan's 2011 Fukushima nuclear disaster.
The decision to seek NSG membership reflected Pakistan's "strong support for international efforts to prevent the proliferation of weapons of mass destruction and their means of delivery," the Pakistani application letter said.
"Pakistan's membership will further NSG non-proliferation objectives by the inclusion of a state with nuclear supply capabilities and its adherence to NSG guidelines and best practices on supply of controlled items, goods, materials, technologies and services," it added.
Pakistan has also informed the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) of its adherence to NSG objectives and its decision to follow the group's guidelines on the transfer of nuclear material, equipment and related technology, it said.
Last August Pakistan inaugurated two new China-backed nuclear power plants near the southern port city of Karachi, costing around $5 billion each and due to be completed by 2020.
Karachi, which lies close to the confluence of three major tectonic plates, is rated by experts as being particularly vulnerable to tsunamis.
The government, however, insists the plants are subject to IAEA safeguards and that it needs electricity to tackle the massive energy shortfall that forces power cuts of up to 10 hours daily, especially in the summer when temperatures can reach 50 degrees Celsius (120 Fahrenheit).
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