Pakistan Atomic Research Reactor

Pakistan Atomic Research Reactor
Pakistan Atomic Research Reactor
The PARR-I is similar to NC University State's Pulstar Nuclear Reactor
Pakistan Atomic Research Reactor is located in Pakistan
Location of Pakistan Atomic Research Reactor
Operating Institution Pakistan Institute of Nuclear Science and Technology (PINSTECH)
Location Nilore, Islamabad, Pakistan
Coordinates 33°39′13″N 73°15′30″E / 33.65361°N 73.25833°E / 33.65361; 73.25833Coordinates: 33°39′13″N 73°15′30″E / 33.65361°N 73.25833°E / 33.65361; 73.25833
Type Pool-type reactor
Materials Test Reactor
Miniature neutron source reactor (MNSR)
SLOWPOKE reactor
Power 10 MW (PARR-I)
30 Kw (PARR-II)
15MW (PARR-III) (Thermal-nuetron)
Construction and Upkeep
Construction Cost Unknown
Construction Began July 8, 1965 (1965-07-08) (46 years ago)
Time to Construct 5 months
First Criticality 1966 December 21
Shutdown date N/A
Decommission date N/A
Staff Classified
Operators Classified
Refuel Frequency N/A
Technical Specifications
Max Thermal Flux 1.05E+13 n/cm^2-s
Max Fast Flux 1.70E+14 n/cm^2-s
Cooling light water
Neutron Moderator light water
Neutron Reflector heavy water, graphite, beryllium
Control Rods 8 Rods
Cladding Material Aluminium Alloy

The Pakistan Atomic Research Reactor or (PARR), are the three nuclear and two experimental neutron sources located in the PINSTECH Laboratory, Nilore, Islamabad, Pakistan. The PARR Reactor is a graphite-moderated, Gas Cooled, nuclear reactor.

It is a type of Very high temperature reactor (VHTR), Thermal-neutron reactor and Pool-type reactor. The research reactors consists of three small nuclear reactors. The first nuclear reactor was supplied and financially constructed by the Government of United States of America in the mids of 1960s. The other two reactors are built and supplied by Pakistan Atomic Energy Commission in 1970s and 1980s, respectively. Supervised by the United States and International Atomic Energy Agency, the first two reactors are subject to IAEA safeguards and its inspections.[1]


History of PARR-Reactors

The PARR-I Reactor was supplied by the United States government in 1965 under the Atoms for Peace program. The PINSTECH institute was designed by American architect Edward Durrell Stone, when noted Pakistani scientists, dr. Abdus Salam and dr. Ishrat Hussain Usmani traveled to United States of America in early 1960s. The first reactor was supplied by the American Machine and Foundry as its contractors, and the first reactor was built by the American nuclear engineer Peter Karter.[2]

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 facility was last upgraded by PAEC chairman and noted nuclear scientist, Mr. Munir Ahmad Khan in 1989.

PARR-I Reactor

The PARR-I Reactor was the first reactor that was supplied by American Machine and Foundry. Peter Karter had personally supervised the construction of the reactor. The PARR-I is a swimming pool-type and Materials Test Reactor (MTR) type research reactor. Originally based on a design to utilize the Highly Enriched Uranium (HEU) fuel, the HEU fuel utilize the ~93% enriched in 235U at a power level of 5 MW.[3] The first reactor went critical on December 21, 1965 under the supervision of Dr. Abdus Salam, Hafeez Qureshi, Dr. Samar Mubarakmand, Dr. Naeem Ahmad Khan and Dr. Hameed Ahmad Khan.

The PARR-I Reactor attained its full power on June 22, 1966. In PARR-I, it is virtually impossible to adopt secure the fresh supplies of the HEU fuel. However, to ensure the continuity of the nuclear fuel, PARR-I was converted to utilize the ~20% Low-Enriched Uranium (LEU) from the 235U in October 1991[4] The nuclear fuel conversion program was led by the Pakistan Atomic Energy Commission (PAEC) chairman Mr. Munir Ahmad Khan. The PAEC chairman Munir Ahmad Khan also upgraded the reactor's power level from 5 MW to 10 MW.

The program was carried out in order to meet demands of higher neutron fluxes for experimental research purposes and the isotope production. The upgraded reactor was also made available to compensate for the decrease in neutron flux due to higher concentration of 238U in the LEU fuel as compared to the HEU fuel. The reactor was made critical on October 31st, 1991 under the supervision of dr. Ansar Pervaiz and dr. Iqbal Hussain Qureshi, and attained power level of 10 MW on May 7, 1992. The core configuration attained its equilibrium configuration in February 1995.[5]

PARR-II Reactor

The PARR-II Reactor is an indigenously designed and constructed reactor owned by the Pakistan Atomic Energy Commission. The PARR-II Reactor's design is similar to Miniature neutron source reactor (MNSR) and SLOWPOKE reactor. The reactor was indigenously designed by the PAEC as the Atomic Energy Agency's chairman Mr. Munir Ahmad Khan and his team of engineers and scientists also led the construction of the reactor. The PARR-II Reactor had gone critical and began operating on January 21, 1974.[6] The PARR-II Reactor is a type-in-pool reactor with a rated power of 27-30 Kw. Same as the first reactor, the reactor is design to utilize the High Enrich Uranium (HEU) fuel. The HEU fuel utilize the ~90% 235U at a power level of 30 kW.[7] The demineralize light water is used as a coolant moderator and the reactor core is reflected by metallic Be4.

A PARR-II consists of a core reactor, control rod, and nuclear reflectors, and it is enclosed in a water-tight cylindrical Al13 alloy vessel. The nuclear reactor core is an under-moderated aray with 1H to 235U ratio of temperature of 20°C and provides a strong Negative temperature coefficient and thermal volume coefficients of reactivity.[8] The PAEC scientists and engineers also built and constructed the nuclear accelerator on April 9, 1989. The particle accelerator is heavily used to conduct research in nuclear technology.

PARR-III Reactor (New-Labs)

Unlike the PARR-I and PARR-II, the third reactor is not subject to IAEA inspections. The third reacor is completely different from its parent reactors. The third PARR-III Reactor, a plutonium-weapons-grade fuel and plutonium reprocessing reactor, known as "New Labs". The New Labs which is previously known as PARR-III-Reactor, is a pilot 94Pu reprocessing reactor, has a capability to utilize the ~7% 239Pu and has the capability to handle the isotopes and utilize the 86Kr emissions and radiation.[9] A reprocessing reactor for the plutonium fuel to utilize <~7% 239Pu weapons grade fuel into a much heavier but <~7% weapon-grade 240Pu weapons grade fuel.[10] Much of the information about the third reactor is not fully known, however, New Labs were designed and constructed indigenously by the Munir Ahmad Khan and Hafeez Qureshi as its project-managers. The construction of the facility was led by Army Engineering Core and the Pakistan Army Corps of Electrical and Mechanical Engineering.

In 1960s, the British Nuclear Fuels contracted the project with Pakistan Atomic Energy Commission, and the French's Saint-Gobain Techniques Nouvelles (SGN).[11] The PAEC engineers and scientists led the initial designing for a large-scale reprocessing plant, one with a capacity of 100 tons of fuel per year. While the BNFL and SGN provided funds, technical assistance, and nuclear fuel. However, after the India's Operation Smiling Buddha, a nuclear test, both British and French consumer companies immediately canceled the project with PAEC. The scientists and engineers re-designed the reprocessing plant, this time completely different from first design. According to its scientists, the project was highly ambitious and larger than the original plan.[12]

The nuclear technology was indigenous, and scientists, under Munir Ahmad Khan, developed the ingenious capability for the plant. The reactor was completed in 1981 and it went critical the same year. The New Labs came into limelight when Pakistan had secretly tested its plutonium weapon-based nuclear device in Kirana Hills.[13] On May 30, 1990, the Pakistan Atomic Energy Commission's scientists, under renowned nuclear physicist dr. Samar Mubarakmand, had tested the one or more miniature Plutonium devices that was successfully reprocessed by the Pakistani scientists into weapon-grade at the New Labs, PINSTECH. The test yield of a nuclear devices was reported to be 12-40 Kt.

Charged Particle Accelerator

In early of 1983, Pakistani nuclear physicist dr. Samar Mubarakmand developed and established a neutron particle and nuclear accelerator to conduct the research of explosions of nuclear elements and isotopes in a nuclear device. Known as a Charged Particle Accelerator (CPA), the nuclear accelerator is a 250 keV Ion accelerator which can deliver all Gaseous ions such as +H, +N, +O, +He, +Ne, +Ar, +Kr, +Xe or molecular ions. The accelerator's energy range is highly flexible and ions between 50 to 250 keV can be delivered to a target of dimensions ranging from few mm to many cm.[14]

The particle facility is designed to implantation of 42+Mo,51+Sn, and46+Pb ions into steel, friction can be reduced by up to ~50%. During the process of ion implanatation, the oxidation is inhibited by suitable ions such as 5+B,20+Ca into metals. The PINSTECH accelerator can be used by mutual arrangement between PINSTECH and industry or any other organizations.[14]

Fast-Neutron Generator

In 1961, the United States Government led the establishment of ICF-based Fusion power experimental source near at Nilore, before the establishment of PINSTECH Institute.[15] The neutron generator was bought by the PAEC from Texas A&M Nuclear Science Center.[15] The facility is capable of producing mono-energetic neutrons at 3.5-14.7MeV from deuterium-tritium reaction generated by the Fusion power.[15] This fusion experimental devices has capability to capture the low neutron flux on the order of 105 to 108 neutrons per cm2 per second, resulting in nucleosynthesis by the s-process (slow-neutron-capture-process).[15] It is designed and planned to to do fast neutron activation for elements such as oxygen and nitrogen as well as some rare earth isotopes.[15]


  1. ^ Unknown. "See:Pakistan's Nuclear Infrastructure" (google docs). 
  2. ^ Mastermind of the MRF Logsdon, Gene. BioCycle. Emmaus: Apr 1993. Vol. 34, Iss. 4; pg. 49, ff.
  3. ^ (PINSTECH), Pakistan Institute of Nuclear Science and Technology; Higher Education Commission of Pakistan; Pakistan Atomic Energy Commission. "Pakistan Research Reactor-I" (PDF). PINSTECH, HEC, PAEC.. HEC. Retrieved 2010. 
  4. ^ Khan, Munir Ahmad (1991). "PARR-I Upgradation Program". 
  5. ^ Pervaiz, Ansar (1995). "PARR-I Program Crticallity.". Retrieved 2010. 
  6. ^
  7. ^ (PINSTECH), Pakistan Institute of Nuclear Science and Technology; Higher Education Commission of Pakistan. "Chapter 2: Description of Reactors" (google docs). PINSTECH and HEC. Higher Education Commission. Retrieved 2010. 
  8. ^ Wasim, M.; J.H. Zaidi, M. Arif, I. Fatima (Friday, April 18, 2008). "Development and implementation of k 0-INAA standardization at PINSTECH". Nuclear and Radiochemistry Division, PINSTECH.PINSTECH. Akadémiai Kiadó, co-published with Springer Science+Business Media B.V., Formerly Kluwer Academic Publishers B.V.. doi:10.1007/s10967-007-7100-8. Retrieved 2010. 
  9. ^ Albright, David (June 1, 1998), Technical Assessment: Pakistan's Efforts to Obtain Unsafeguarded Plutonium are Nearing Fruition,, retrieved 2010 
  10. ^ (FAS), Federation of American Scientists (Saturday, March 18, 2000), PINSTECH / New Labs,, retrieved 2010 
  11. ^ The Plutonium route to the bomb
  12. ^ How Pakistan made nuclear fuel
  13. ^ How Pakistan Made Nuclear Fuel" by Munir Ahmad Khan, former chairperson of the Pakistan Atomic Energy Commission: Islamabad The Nation 7 February 1998, page 7
  14. ^ a b
  15. ^ a b c d e (FNPG), Fast Neutron Physics Group; Note:For more information click on Physics Research Division.. "Fast Neutron Generator". PINSTECH Institute's Media Research Cell. Atomic and Nuclear Radiation Group (ANR Group). 

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