Pakistan Institute of Nuclear Science and Technology

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Pakistan Institute of Nuclear Science and Technology (PINSTECH)
PINSTECH logo.jpg
Established: December 21, 1965; 48 years ago (1965-12-21)
Director: Dr. Javed Iqbal Akhter[1]
Location: Nilore, Islamabad Capital Territory
Budget: Classified
Jurisdiction Government of Pakistan
Mission: Mission Objectives and Research:
neutron science, energy,
high-performance computing,
systems biology, materials science,
nuclear technology, Reactor technology, radiation sciences, laser sciences and photon sciences
Staff : Classified
affiliations PAEC, NCP, ICTP, ANL, ORNL, CERN

The Pakistan Institute of Nuclear Science and Technology, or commonly known as "PINSTECH", is a multi-program science and technology national research institute managed by the Pakistan Atomic Energy Commission. The PINSTECH offers a post-graduate and post-doctoral research in the field of nuclear and reactor technology. PINSTECH is the one of the largest science and technology research institution in Pakistan. PINSTECH is located in Nilore, Islamabad Capital Territory, near Islamabad. Scientists and engineers at PINSCTECH conduct basic and applied research and development to create scientific knowledge and technological solutions that build the nation's expertise in key areas of science; increase the ability of clean and peaceful use of nuclear energy; restore and protect the environment; and contribute to national security.

The PINSTECH performs variety of experiments for the Government, including the research in nuclear reprocessing, and technical program management, and provides research and technical assistance to other organizations..


PINSTECH is the most advanced facility in the country having state of the art equipment and instruments for doing; therefore it remain an obvious choice for the students and researchers from all over Pakistan where they could find many important techniques under one roof. Recently the famous concept of centralized analysis facility has been utilized where a researcher can go and work with any piece of nuclear equipment that the researcher has been assigned. The Central Diagnostic Laboratory (CDL) and Central Analytical Facility (CAF) are the most potent facilities in Pakistan.

Facts and figures[edit]

Designed by world-renowned American architect Edward Durell Stone, PINSTECH blends eastern elegance with western functionality. Construction of the Institute proceeded in two stages: In the first stage, reactor building and ancillary facilities were completed with the reactor becoming critical on 21 December 1965.

The second stage, consisting of various laboratories, workshop, library and auditorium, became operational in 1974. The PINSTECH Library is one of the most advanced library in the country. The scientific articles, magazines, and science literature are stocked in large numbers at the library. There is also a large section containing loaded historical references and literature on Manhattan Project, brought by Abdus Salam in 1971 prior to start of the Nuclear weapons programme under Zulfikar Ali Bhutto.[2] The facility was last upgraded by PAEC chairman and noted nuclear scientist, Mr. Munir Ahmad Khan in 1989.


The roots of Pinstech travels back to 1951 when Abdus Salam, a young and ambitious scientist, came back to Pakistan with a doctorate in physics. In 1953, Salam was unable to establish the institute as he faced strong opposition from his peers. As time passes, he soon faced the choice between intellectual death or migration to the stimulating environment of a western institutions from Pakistan. This choice, however, left a deep impression on him and was behind his determination to create an institution to which physicists from developing countries would come as a right to interact with their peers from industrially advanced countries without permanently leaving their own countries. Establishing the world class physics research institute, roughly equivalent to CERN, in Pakistan, was a dream of Dr. Abdus Salam who initiated the establishment of PINSTECH. As Science Advisor to the Government of Pakistan, Abdus Salam had pressed the Government of Pakistan as well as Pakistan Defence Forces to invest and promote science (mainly physics research) in the country as well as in the military.

In 1965, Dr. Abdus Salam traveled to United States where he signed an agreement with Edward Durell Stone. The establishment of PINSTECH was a dream of professor Abdus Salam, who gave the directorship of this institute to Rafi Muhammad Chaudhry, a professor of nuclear physics at Salam's Alma mater—Government College University (GCU). However, when Zulfikar Ali Bhutto, President at that time, orchestrated and established the Nuclear Deterrent Programme loosely based on Manhattan Project of the 1940s, Salam took over the operations of PINSTECH institute to supervised the development of the weapons, research, and contributions leading the rise of physics at its maximum level in Pakistan.

Because the experiments were deemed too dangerous to conduct in a major city of Islamabad, the operations were moved a hill station near Islamabad. The operations were supervised by Pakistan Army Corps of Engineers, and it was highly secured both by the Pakistan Army and the Pakistan Air Force.

With the establishment of facility, PINSTECH became a focal point for Pakistani scientists to conduct research in physics. In 1967, the basic and applied science research in PINSTECH picked up its speed, when Pakistani scientists feared that India was rapidly developing an atomic bomb. Throughout the time, both the laboratories and the nearby city of Nilore was built up by Pakistan Army Corps of Engineers. The Nilore became restricted and secret city. After the 1971 Winter War, the site was one of the integral site for the nuclear weapons research.

The goal of the Project-706 activities in PINSTECH was to reprocess the reactor grade plutonium into weapon grade in developing of nuclear weapons. This work carried out in four different facilities, PARR-I Reactor, PARR-II Reactor, New Labs, and the Charged Particle Accelerator. The New Labs was dedicated to the production of the weapon grade plutonium of 239Pu. The PARR-II Reactor was dedicated to utilize ~90% 235U at a power level of 30kw.

In 1983, Nuclear Physics Group working under Ishfaq Ahmad successfully produced the 239Pu, a weapon grade plutonium. This Weapon-grade plutonium was later tested in Kirana Hills. Throughout the formulative year, the scientists and engineers at PINSTECH carried out technologically advanced research at Charged Particle Accelerator. In May 30, 1998, the PAEC scientists and engineers had performed the second nuclear test—codename Chagai-II— of a fissionable device, and the device's weapon grade plutonium was produced at the New Labs. The research reactors at the institute were last upgraded by Munir Ahmad Khan — chairman of PAEC at that time — as he led both Electronics Division (ED) and Nuclear Engineering Division (NED) in 1989.

As of today, PINSTECH has been shifted to peacetime research in medicine, biology, materials and physics. Its Molybdenum-42 facility was used to medical radioisotopes for treating cancer. Scientists from Nuclear Institute for Agriculture and Biology (NIAB) and Nuclear Institute for Food and Agriculture (NIFA) had been using the PINSTECH facilities to conduc advanced research in both medical and food sciences.


PINSTECH is the most advanced facility in the country having state of the art equipment and instruments for doing R & D work; therefore it remain an obvious choice for the students and researchers from all over Pakistan where they could find many important techniques under one roof. Recently the famous concept of centralized analysis facility has been utilized where a researcher can go and work with any piece of nuclear equipment that the researcher has been assigned. The Central Diagnostic Laboratory (CDL) and Central Analytical Facility (CAF) are the most potent facilities in Pakistan.

PINSTECH promotes applications of radiation and isotope technology in various scientific and technological disciplines to support the nation. It is also working on important non-nuclear fields, which are crucial for the development of science and technology in the country.

Nuclear reactors[edit]

PINSTECH also has particle accelerators and operates three small nuclear research reactors based on:

Research divisions[edit]

The PINSTECH four research directorates and each directorate is headed by an appointed Director-Generals. The following PINSTECH Divisions are listed below:

Directorate of Science[edit]

Physics Research Division (RPD)

The directorate of science consists of four division, and each divisions are headed by deputy director-generals. In 2004, the PINSTECH administration had brought together all of the groups, and were merged into one single Division, known as Physics Research Division (PRD).[3] Meanwhile, the PINSTECH had also merged Nuclear Physics Division (NPD) and Radiation Physics Division (RPD), Nuclear and Applied Chemistry Divisions as well. The below is the list of research groups working in RPD.

  • Atomic and Nuclear Radiation Group
  • Fast Neutron Diffraction Group (FNDG)[4]
  • Electronic and Magnetic Materials Group (EMMG)[5]
  • Nuclear Track Studies Group
  • Nuclear Geology Group
  • Radiation Damage Group
  • Mathematical Physics Group (MPG)[6]
  • Theoretical Physics Group (TPG)[7]

Chemistry Research Division (CRD)

  • Nuclear Chemistry Division (NCD) - The Nuclear Chemistry Division was founded in 1966 by Dr. Iqbal Hussain Qureshi.[8] As of today, the division is the largest Divisions of the PINSTECH comprising five major groups. Nuclear Chemistry Division has gained experience in the characterization of reactor grade and high purity materials by using advanced analytical techniques and it is dealing with environmental and health related problems.[9]
  • Applied Chemistry Division
  • Laser Development Division

Directorate of System and Services[edit]

The Directorate of System and Services (DSS, headed by Dr. Matiullah, consists of 5 research divisions that are listed below:

  • Health Physics Division (HPD) - The Health Physics Division (HPD) was established in 1965 by the small team of health physicists. Founded as a group, it was made a division of PINSTECH in 1966. The division heavily involves its research in medical physics and using nuclear technology in medical and agricultural sciences.[10]
  • Nuclear Engineering Division (NED) - The Nuclear Engineering Division (NED, headed by Dr. Masood Iqbal, is one of the most prestigious and well-known Division of Pakistan Institute of Nuclear Science and Technology (PINSTECH). The Division was established in 1965 with the objective to develop technical expertise mainly in the area of Nuclear Reactor Technology.[11] The NED has been used to provide technical assistance and training to the field of reactor technology.[12]
  • Electronics Maintenance Division (EMD) - The Electronics Division (ED, headed by Mr. Hameed, was formally established in 1967, recognizing its important role in scientific research and development at PINSTECH. The Division has rendered valuable service to the scientific effort by carrying out maintenance of scientific equipment and development of electronic instruments for use in research and development projects.[13] In 1989, the ED was involved in the upgradation program of PARR-I Reactor led by PAEC chairman Munir Ahmad Khan. The ED had supplied and developed electronic material and system for the PARR-I Reactor, and had successfully converted PARR-I to utilize HEU fuel into LEU fuel.[14] An outstanding achievement ED was the design and engineering of nuclear instrumentation of research reactor ( PARR-1) which required a very high degree of sophistication and reliability.
  • General Services Division (GSD) - The General Services Division (GSD) is responsible for the routine operational research, maintenance repairments of the laboratories, upkeep and development of engineering services such as civil, electrical, mechanical workshops, air conditionig a well as water supply to PINSTECH and annexed labs.[15]
  • Computer Division (CD) - Computer Division (CD) was established in January 1980 with an aim to provide service and support to the researchers and scientists of PINSTECH in the area of computer hardware and software. Although computer division is still providing computer hardware and software services but it has gradually shifted its activities from being only a service provider division to an important design and development division.[16]

Directorate of Technology[edit]

The Directorate of Technology (D-TECH) consists of 3 divisions that are Materials Division (MD), Isotope Application Division (IAD), and the Isotope Production Division (IPD).

  • Materials Division (MD) - Materials Division (MD) was established in 1973, with aim of to provide technical assistance to other PAEC's projects on development, production and characterization of materials.[17]
  • Isotope Application Division (IAD) - The Isotope Application Division (IAD)[18] was established in PINSTECH by Dr. Naeem Ahmad Khan in early 1971. Having known as the problem solver in the institute, the IAD is responsible for solving the problems in Isotope Hydrolog, Environmental Pollution, Non-Destructive Testing, Industrial Applications, Life Sciences, and Isotope Geology. IAD also extends expert services to solve relevant problems faced by the industrial sector and different organizations.[19]

Directorate of Coordination[edit]

The Directorate of Coordination, headed by Engr. Iqbal Hussain Khan, is an administrative directorate which consists of 3 administrative divisions. The Scientific Information Division (SID), Human Resource Development (HRD), and Management Information System (MIS), are included in this division.

  • Scientific Information Division (SID) - The Scientific Information Division (SID, headed by Dr. Ishtiaq Hussain Bokhari, was established in PINSTECH in 1966. It was upgraded into a full fledged division in 1984. SID is the central source of scientific and technical information not only for Pakistan Atomic Energy Commission but also for other scientific organizations and universities in the country and is responsible for the efficient acquisition, storage, retrieval and dissemination of Scientific and Technical information in support of the PAEC program.[20]

User facilities[edit]

  • Analytical Laboratories
  • Charged Particle Accelerator
  • Computer Oriented Services
  • Corrosion Testing
  • Environmental Studies Building
  • Health Physics, Radiation Safety & Radioactive Waste Management
  • Irradiation Laboratories
  • Lasers Laboratory and Testing Facility
  • Materials Development & Characterization
  • Nuclear Geological Services
  • Processing of Polymers
  • Production of Radioisotopes & Radio-pharmaceuticals
  • Radiation & Radioisotope Applications
  • Repair & Maintenance of Electronic Equipment
  • Scientific & Industrial Instruments
  • Scientific Glass Blowing
  • Scientific Information
  • Technical Services & Collaboration
  • Vacuum Technology Laboratory
  • Vibration Analysis

Directors of PINSTECH[edit]

Numbers Name Timeline of Directors Alma Mater Field Educational Background
1 Rafi Muhammad Chaudhry 1965–1970 University of Cambridge (Cavendish Laboratory) Nuclear Physics Doctor of Philosophy (Ph.D)
2 Abdus Salam 1970–1971 Imperial College Theoretical Physics Doctor of Philosophy (Ph.D)
3 Ishfaq Ahmad 1971–1976 Université de Montréal (Montreal Laboratory) Nuclear Physics Doctor of Science (D.Sc.)
4 Munir Ahmad Khan 1976–1977 North Carolina State University (Argonne National Laboratory) Nuclear Engineering Master of Science (M.Sc.)
5 Naeem Ahmad Khan 1977–1984 University of Manchester Nuclear Physics Doctor of Philosophy (Ph.D)
6 Iqbal Hussain Qureshi 1986–1991 University of Tokyo Nuclear Chemistry Doctor of Philosophy (Ph.D)
7 Noor Muhammad Butt 1991–1996 University of Birmingham Nuclear Physics Doctor of Science (D.Sc.)
8 Hameed Ahmad Khan 1996–2000 University of Birmingham Nuclear, Space, and Reactor physics Doctor of Science (D.Sc.) and Doctor of Philosophy (Ph.D)
9 Mustansar Jehangir 2000–2005 University of Birmingham Nuclear Chemistry Doctor of Philosophy (Ph.D)
10 Masud Ahmad 2005–2007 Imperial College Theoretical Physics Doctor of Philosophy (Ph.D)
11 Ansar Pervaiz 2007–2010 Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute Nuclear Engineering Doctor of Philosophy (Ph.D)
12 Jamshed Hussain Zaidi 2010–Present Peshawar University Nuclear Chemistry Doctor of Science (Sc.D)


  1. ^ 6th Executive Management Seminar on “Environmental Pollution Scenario of Pakistan: Findings and Remediation”at PINSTECH
  2. ^ Shahidur Rehman, §The Theoretical Physics Group, A Cue from Manhattan Project?, pp51-100, Long Road to Chagai, 1999, Printwise Publications.
  3. ^ "Physics Research Division". 
  4. ^ It was originally founded as Fast Neutron Physics Group by Dr. Samar Mubarakmand in 1979. The FNPG was involved in the designing of a country's first nuclear weapon
  5. ^ The EMM Group was founded by Dr. N.M. Butt in 1966 that had produced world acclaim research in Mossbauer Spectroscopy
  6. ^ The Mathematics Physics Group, otherwise known as Math Group, was founded in 1972, with Theoretical Physics Group, by Raziuddin Siddiqui who also served its first director. The Math Group was mandate to conduct mathematical calculations in implosion designs and concepts. It earned prestige in 1978 when the Group, worked under Asghar Qadir, finished the solved complex calculations involved in nuclear fission and chain reaction
  7. ^ The Theoretical Physics Group or TPG, was founded and established by Dr. Abdus Salam who served its first Director in 1972 until 1974. The TPG, under Salam's directorial guidance, was tasked to developed the nuclear weapons designs and mathematical calculations involving the nuclear weapons. Later, The TPG had first successfully designed the first theoretical design and completed calculations in nuclear weapon in 1978, under Dr. Riazuddin
  8. ^ Dr. Iqbal Hussain Qureshi (Dr. I.H. Qureshi) was one of the leading scientists who were involved in the development of a nuclear weapon in the early 1970s. Dr. I.H. Qureshi has had led NCD in the development of fissionable materials in the device. Dr. I.H. Qureshi had famously discovered 6
    +22.4 MeV equation for balancing the Q-value and energy balance in a fission device.
  9. ^ "Nuclear Chemistry Division" (Web cache). 
  10. ^ "Health Physics Division" (Web cache). 
  11. ^ The Nuclear Engineering division was used in the designing and construction of PARR-II.
  12. ^ "Nuclear Engineering Division" (Web cache). 
  13. ^ "Electronics Division" (Web cache). 
  14. ^ The PARR-I Upgradation Program was led by Munir Ahmad Khan in 1991. Further discussion can be read at PARR-I Reactor
  15. ^ "General Services Division" (Web cache). 
  16. ^ "Computer Division". 
  17. ^ "Nuclear Material Division" (Web cache). 
  18. ^ The Isotope Application Division (IAD)was founded by Dr. Naeem Ahmad Khan in 1971. Hafeez Qureshi was made director general of the RIAD Division. The RIAD was the first division that had put efforts in the development of the fission device in 1972.
  19. ^ "Radiation Isotope Application Division" (Web cache). 
  20. ^ "Scientific Information Division" (Web cache). 

External links[edit]