Pakistan is likely to become a member of the Nuclear Suppliers' Group (NSG) in the next few years as it has built up a critical base of manpower, technology and expertise in the sector, says a Planning Commission study.
According to the study, Pakistan has "attained the ability to design and build small reactors and now plans to expand its existing base and initiate research in fast breeder reactors", the Daily Times reported on Tuesday.
But the daily noted that the study was silent on the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT), which is yet to be signed by Pakistan. The NSG consists of NPT signatory countries.
It also ignores Pakistan's widely perceived record as a proliferator, having allegedly supplied nuclear know-how and designs to Iran, North Korea, Libya and Osama bin Laden.
Pakistan's foremost nuclear scientist AQ Khan is under house arrest for having conducted most of these illegal acts of proliferation. President Pervez Musharraf detained him after being confronted by the CIA with evidence.
The NSG governs areas of nuclear exports and facilitates development of peaceful nuclear trade.
The study states that Pakistan's current installed electricity generation capacity is 19,400 MW, 50.8 per cent of which is gas based, 30 percent hydroelectric, 15.8 per cent oil, 3.3 percent nuclear and 0.2 per cent coal-based.
Pakistan plans to generate 8,800 MW from the nuclear source by 2030, the study says, adding that the government has already formulated an Energy Security Plan in this regard.
It also proposes a new regime whereby nuclear generation plants are treated on par with power plants being set up by the private sector.
The private sector can build, operate and own these plants under full International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) safeguards, it says.
Nuclear power plants "are attractive in the context of the future world energy scenario and the new designs are safer but worries about waste management or proliferation still persist", the study states.
Pakistan's recent bid to gain access to nuclear energy technology from the US and for being treated on par with India has not succeeded.
China, its traditional ally in defence and nuclear areas, also did not make any commitment when President Hu Jintao visited Pakistan in November.