Pakistan Atomic Energy Commission

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Pakistan Atomic Energy Commission (PAEC)
ادارہ جوہری توانائی پاکستان
Paec logo.jpg
Agency overview
Formed March 1956
Preceding agencies Atomic Energy Commission Parliamentary Act of 1956
Superseding agency Pakistan Nuclear Regulatory Authority (PNRA) and National Command Authority (NCA)
Jurisdiction Government of Pakistan
Headquarters Islamabad, Islamabad Capital Territory
Employees Highly Classified[citation needed]
Annual budget Highly Classified[citation needed]
Agency executive Dr. Ansar Pervaiz, Chairman
Child agencies
Key document (etc.)
Note: PAEC is an autonomous agency that is free from jurisdiction of any ministry of Pakistan. It directly reported to Pakistan's Prime Minister Secretariat.

The Pakistan Atomic Energy Commission, (Urdu:ادارہ جوہری توانائی پاکستان ; popularly known as PAEC), is an administrative, governmental, and autonomous science and technology research institution, responsible for the development of nuclear energy research and development of nuclear power sector in Pakistan.[1] The PAEC was constitutionally established in its modern form by a Parliamentary act of 1956 under the Government of Prime minister, Huseyn Shaheed Suhrawardy as a part of his nuclear policy.

The primary purpose of PAEC is to control the peaceful development of Nuclear technology as well as development of reactor technology in the country.[2] Over the several years, the PAEC has built an extensive infrastructure for contributing to the economic uplift of the country.[2] And, it has established nuclear medicine research centres mainly focusing on cancer by using the technology of Nuclear medicines.[2]

A science and technology organisation, the PAEC has sponsored science conferences and research programmes in the universities in all over the countries.[2] The PAEC is also a partner of European Organization for Nuclear Research (CERN) where its scientists have contributed in experiments. Its scientists visit CERN on a regular basis while taking part in projects led by CERN. The PAEC is part of National Command Authority under the current command of Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif.


Chaghi Monument, Islamabad Pakistan

Pakistan was among one of the first countries (after Israel and Turkey) to take part in the Atoms for Peace program, announced by U.S. President Dwight Eisenhower in 1953.[citation needed] The same year, Foreign Minister Sir Zafar-ulla Khan stated that Pakistan had no policy to developed nuclear weapons, and signed an agreement for cooperation on the peaceful use of nuclear energy with the United States.[citation needed] In 1955, Pakistan Government established a committee of scientists to prepare a nuclear energy plans and establishment of nuclear research institutes throughout the country.[3] In 1956, Pakistan Parliament approved the establishment of a government agency to supervise the nuclear energy establishment under the Atomic Energy Council Act of 1956.[3] Pakistani Prime minister Huseyn Suhravadrie established the Pakistan Atomic Energy Commission (PAEC) and appointed its first chairman, Nazir Ahmad, a renowned experimental physicist. Its first Technical member was Dr. Salimuzzaman Siddiqui, who founded the agency's Chemical laboratories. Dr. Raziuddin Siddiqui, a mathematical physicist, was put in charge of the research and development directorates of the agency.[3]

In 1960, the PAEC proposed to the chairman of the Pakistan Industrial Development Corporation (PIDC) the construction of a heavy water production facility with production capacity of 50 kg of heavy water per day at Multan. The PIDC did not immediately act on the PAEC's proposal. Field Marshal Ayub Khan[who?] rejected the proposal, and instead transferred Dr. Nazir Ahmad immediately to the Federal Bureau of Statistics. Dr. Ishrat Hussain Usmani, a bureaucrat, was made the agency's second chairman.[citation needed]

In 1965, the PAEC entered with agreement with General Electric to supply the country's first nuclear power plant. Dr. Abdus Salam, Science Adviser to Pakistan's President, travelled to United States where he successfully signed an agreement with General Electric to provide country's first nuclear power plant in Karachi.[citation needed] He also closed an agreement with the Government of United States to provide a research reactor in Rawalpindi. It was under Salam's leadership that Edward Durell Stone designed and then led construction of a nuclear research institute in Nilore.[citation needed]

Following the Indo-Pak 1971 Winter War, the PAEC came under the direct control of Prime minister Zulfikar Ali Bhutto. In January 1972, the commission was transferred from the Science and Technology Research Division to the Prime minister's Secretariat. Bhutto immediately replaced I. H. Usmani with Munir Ahmad Khan, a nuclear engineer working as the head of the IAEA's Reactor Engineering Division. With the appointment of Munir Khan, Bhutto orchestrated the nuclear weapons research program.[citation needed]

The PAEC led the groundbreaking work in the development of the nuclear fuel cycle infrastructure and atomic weapons under the administration of Munir Ahmad Khan. Munir Ahmad Khan established different laboratories, facilities and directorates mandated to design, develop and test nuclear weapons and to build plants and facilities for the enriched uranium and plutonium routes to the bomb. Under his leadership, PAEC conducted the first cold test of a working nuclear device on 11 March 1983 at Kirana Hills which was followed by another two dozen cold tests till the early 1990s.[citation needed] The PAEC also ran its separate nuclear power program and contributed in the electricity generation demands in Karachi.[citation needed] Under Munir Khan, Pakistan and China signed a joint venture of peaceful use of nuclear energy on 15 September 1986. In 1989, Pakistan and China reached an agreement under which China agreed to provide the 300MW nuclear power plant. On 28 May 1998, PAEC scientists conducted the first Pakistani test of nuclear weapons in Ras Koh Hills in Chagai District, followed by further nuclear tests in Kharan Desert. In 2001, Pakistan Nuclear Regulatory Authority (PNRA) and Nuclear Command Authority (NCA) were established, and scientists belonging to PAEC's Nuclear Safety Division were given transferred to PNRA.[citation needed]

Research and education[edit]

In early 1960s, PAEC led the foundation of particle and Nuclear physics laboratories in both East Pakistan and West Pakistan, where many scientist and engineers were educated. After the Bangladesh liberation war, a vast majority of scientist and engineers at Dhaka particle accelerator flew back to Pakistan. Prior to starting of the conflict, the PAEC had shut down all of their operations in the East-Pakistan. Scientists, engineers, and technicians were immediately advised to leave East-Pakistan in a shortest possible time. However, in West Pakistan, the PAEC had continued their research operations. According to Science Advisor to the Government of Pakistan, Ishfaq Ahmad, the PAEC was responsible to send more than 500 scientists to the abroad.

As of today, the PAEC is now the largest science and technology organisation of the country, both in terms of scientific/technical manpower and the scope of its activities. Starting with a Karachi Nuclear Power Plant and Pakistan Atomic Research Reactor at Nilore, and a neutron Charged Particle Accelerator, a neutron particle accelerator. The emphasis in the early years remained focused on the peaceful uses of Nuclear energy. Consequently research centres in: Agricultural engineering, nuclear engineering, nuclear medicine, nuclear technology, nuclear physics, nuclear chemistry, astrophysics, astrochemistry, astrobiology biochemistry, biophysics, biological sciences, biotechnology, theoretical physics mathematical physics, computational physics, experimental physics, geophysics and other scientific and mathematical disciplines were set up all over the country.

As the emphasis shifted towards concerns for national security, important projects were also initiated in this area. PAEC remained as one of the most well known and oldest research government agency in Pakistan, where country's most prominent scientist have worked. With the establishment of Pakistan Nuclear Regulatory Authority and Nuclear Command Authority, the PAEC has shifted back to focus on peaceful use of Nuclear energy as well as continued the research in nuclear developments in terms of both peaceful and scientific use.

Expansion of nuclear power plants[edit]

The PAEC is responsible for leading the construction of nuclear power plants in the country. As the primary provider for the nuclear power plants, the PAEC envisions setting up power plants with a capacity of 8800MW by the year 2030. In this context CHASHNUPP project was initiated in the early 1990s, with the aim of establishing a complex of 4 units each having a 325MW reactor. Expansion plans for KANUPP have also been launched. By 2008, feasibility studies were being conducted to identify new sites for further nuclear plants.


Nuclear Institute for Food and Agriculture[edit]

The Nuclear Institute for Food and Agriculture, known as NIFA, is an agriculture and food irradiation research institute managed by the Pakistan Atomic Energy Commission. The institute is tasked to carry out research in Crop production and protection, soil fertility, water management and conservation and value addition of food resources, employing nuclear and other contemporary techniques.[4]

Nuclear Institute for Agriculture and Biology[edit]

The Nuclear Institute for Agriculture and Biology, also known as NIAB, is an agriculture and food irradiation national research institute managed by the Pakistan Atomic Energy Commission. [5]

National Institute for Biotechnology and Genetic Engineering[edit]

National Agricultural Research Centre[edit]

Hussain Ebrahim Jamal Research Institute of Chemistry[edit]

Institute of Nuclear Medicine, Oncology and Radiotherapy[edit]

National Centre for Physics[edit]

International Nathiagali Summer College on Physics[edit]

PAEC partnership with CERN[edit]

Pakistan has a long history of participating in an experiments and research undertaking with CERN, and has a long tradition of wonderful physicists who are working around the world.[6] Since the 1960s, Pakistan has been contributing and regularly participating in CERN's project, theoretical and nuclear experiments.[6] A prime example would be Dr. Abdus Salam; dr. Salam was the first man to be accredited with all the collaboration with CERN which continues till the present when he convinced CERN to give Pakistan stacks of nuclear emulsion exposed for further study of pions, kaons and antiprotons in the 1960s.[7] Some theoretical physicists from Pakistan had the opportunity to work at CERN through short visits.[6] During the 1980s, some of the experimental physicists from Pakistan, specialising in the technique of Solid State Nuclear Track Detectors (SSNTD), also benefited from CERN by exposing the stacks in the beam at the Super Proton Synchrotron (SPS).[6] In 2005, CERN awarded PAEC with " ATLAS Supplier Award' in 2005, in connection with manufacturing and fabrication of various equipment for CERN.[8]

In 27 June 2011, PAEC and CERN reached an agreement for extending the technical cooperation with CERN's upcoming programmes.[8] CERN's Director-General Rolf-Dieter Heuer personally paid a visit to Pakistan where he spoke for the need of importance of Science in Pakistan and importance of Germany's strategic alliance with Pakistan.[citation needed] The agreement was signed in order to extend the an earlier agreement, which came into operation in 2003 between CERN and Pakistan for the supply of manufactured equipment for Large Hadron Collider (LHC) at CERN along with placement of scientists and engineers from Pakistan to assist in the scientific programme of CERN.[8]

PAEC contribution to Compact Muon Solenoid[edit]

PAEC contributed in the development of Compact Muon Solenoid.

In 1997, a well-known Pakistani nuclear physicist Dr. Ishfaq Ahmad was able to sign a contract between PAEC and CERN after elaborate discussions an in-kind contribution worth one million Swiss francs for the construction of eight magnet supports for the CMS detector.[7]

PAEC support to Large Hadron Collider[edit]

PAEC took participation in the development of Large Hadron Collider.

In 2000, CERN signed another agreement which doubled the Pakistani contribution from one to two million Swiss francs. And with this new agreement Pakistan started construction of the resistive plate chambers required for the CMS muon system. While more recently, a protocol has been signed enhancing Pakistan’s total contribution to the LHC programme to $10 million. Pakistan with all these efforts is already hoping to become an observer state at CERN.[6][7] In 2006 PAEC and CERN agreed on expanded cooperation, including contributions by PAEC valued at 5 million Swiss francs.[9]

World's largest energy experiment at CERN[edit]

On 10 September 2008, PAEC, along with the Universities of Pakistan, send a large team of physicists and engineers to CERN. Pakistani scientists were heavily involved and participated in Large Hadron Collider, the world's largest and highest-energy particle accelerator.[citation needed]


The Commission consists of the following members appointed by the Federal Government namely:-

Full-Time members

  • a) Chairman
  • b) A Finance member, being representative of the Ministry of Finance, Government of Pakistan.
  • c) Technical members of whom one may be a member for Administration.

Part-Time members

  • a) A scientist in the service of the Federal Government of any organisation set up by the Federal Government.
  • b) Two scientists.
  • c) Chief Scientific Adviser to the President, ex-officio.

The Commission meets not less than four times every year, and it has the mandate to take decisions on all matters, including research work, promotion of peaceful uses of atomic energy in the fields of agriculture, medicine and industry and for the execution of development projects involving nuclear power stations and the generation of electric power.

PAEC Chairmen[edit]

Numbers Name Term Start Term End Alma Mater Field Educational Background
1 Dr. Nazir Ahmed 11 March 1956 21 May 1960 University of Manchester, United Kingdom Experimental Physics Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)
2 Dr. Ishrat Hussain Usmani 15 July 1960 10 January 1972 Imperial College of Science and Technology, United Kingdom Atomic Physics Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)
3 Eng. Munir Ahmad Khan 20 January 1972 19 March 1991 Argonne National Laboratory, United States Nuclear Engineering Master of Science (MSc)
4 Dr. Ishfaq Ahmad 7 April 1991 6 April 2001 Université de Montréal, Canada Experimental High Energy Physics Doctor of Science (D.Sc.)
5 Eng. Parvez Butt 29 December 2001 5 April 2006 University of Toronto, Canada Nuclear Engineering Master of Science (MSc)
6 Mr. Anwar Ali 1 May 2006 31 March 2009 Nuclear Technology Education Consortium, United Kingdom Nuclear Physics Master of Science (MSc)
7 Dr. Ansar Pervaiz 7 April 2009 Present Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute, United States Nuclear Reactor Technology Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)

Current full-time members[edit]

Name Designation Role
Dr. Ansar Pervez Chairman, Pakistan Atomic Energy Commission Chairman
Mr. Ghulam Nabi Member, PAEC Member (Technical)
Mr. Muhammad Naeem Member, PAEC Member (Fuel Cycle)
Mr. Syed Yusof Raza Member, PAEC Member (Power)
Mr.Muhammad Jamal Ud Din Member, PAEC Member (System)
Mr. Mansoor Ali Sheikh Finance Secretary, Ministry of Finance (Pakistan) Member (Finance), PAEC
Dr. S. M. Javed Akhtar Member, PAEC Member (Science)
Mr. Syed Ziauddin Member, PAEC Member (Engineering)
Syed Gufftar Shah Member, PAEC Member (Administration)


  • Programmes to develop nuclear power and fuel-cycle facilities.
  • Promotion of use of radiation and radio-isotopes in agriculture, medicine and industry.
  • Research, development and training of manpower to support the programmes of nuclear power and radio-isotope applications.

Nuclear power programme[edit]

The PAEC has two science directorate divisions that are responsible for nuclear power programs: Nuclear power generation (NUPG) and Nuclear Power Projects (NUPP). The NUPP directorate is closely aligned with Pakistan Nuclear Regulatory Authority (PNRA), and performs surveys and feasibility projects for both PAEC and PNRA. The NUPG directorate oversees the operational units, and the NUPP Directorate is concerned with design and construction of planned units.[citation needed]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ "Pakistan Atomic Energy Commission". PAEC. 
  2. ^ a b c d "Pakistan Atomic Energy Commission in service of the nation". Pakistan Atomic Energy Commission. Pakistan Atomic Energy Commission. 
  3. ^ a b c Khan, PhD, Aqeel (7 June 2001). "Development of Nuclear Industry in Pakistan". Professor Aqeel Khan, professor of Political Science at the Ryerson University. Dr. Aqeel Khan of the Ryerson University and the Ryerson University Press. Retrieved 15 August 2011. 
  4. ^
  5. ^
  6. ^ a b c d e CERN, Conseil Européen pour la Recherche Nucléaire (6 Oct 2003). "CERN Courier: CERN and Pakistan: a personal perspective" (HTTP). CERN Courier. Retrieved 2011. 
  7. ^ a b c
  8. ^ a b c PAEC (27 June 2011). "Pakistan and CERN signed agreement for Technical Cooperation" (HTTP). PAEC Public Relations and International Press Directorate. Pakistan Atomic Energy Commission's International Relations Directorate. Retrieved 2011. 
  9. ^ 2006 Protocol on CERN-PAEC cooperation

External links[edit]