Pakistan's first nuclear energy plant (heavy-water, natural uranium, 137 MWe), Karachi Nuclear Power Plant (KANUPP), became operational in 1972 under International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) safeguards. Built with Canadian assistance, KANUPP is a unique variant of the CANDU reactor built by Canadian General Electric Co., using a fuel design only available from Canadian manufacturers. KANUPP is a heavy water reactor that uses natural uranium rather than enriched uranium as fuel.
Canadian technical support was provided for the first four years of operations. On 23 December 1976 Canada ended nuclear cooperation with Pakistan, cutting off supplies of nuclear fuel, heavy-water, spare parts, and technical information. Canada's decision was based on the failure of Pakistan to sign the NPT and accept safeguards on its entire nuclear program.
The Karachi Nuclear Power Plant is operated under international IAEA safeguards. Pakistan also operates a small heavy water production facility at KANUPP under IAEA safeguards. Fuel and some spare parts for this plant are manufactured and produced in Pakistan.
According to the International Atomic Energy Agency, the KANUPP lifetime energy availability factor (as of the end of 1997) was 28.6%, one of the worst performing nuclear power plants in the world. For the period 1989-1996 KANUPP’s capacity factor (the ratio of actual electrical production versus designed power) was only 34%. In fiscal 1993-94, KANUPP generated 497 GWH of power, peaking at 511 GWH in 1994-95, and dwindling to 223 GWH in 1996-97.
A separate materials storage facility is located at nearby Hawks Bay Depot, which is also under IAEA safeguards and its physical security is guarenteed by the government of Pakistan.