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HandWiki. Pakistan Institute of Nuclear Science and Technology. Encyclopedia. Available online: (accessed on 23 June 2024).
HandWiki. Pakistan Institute of Nuclear Science and Technology. Encyclopedia. Available at: Accessed June 23, 2024.
HandWiki. "Pakistan Institute of Nuclear Science and Technology" Encyclopedia, (accessed June 23, 2024).
HandWiki. (2022, November 20). Pakistan Institute of Nuclear Science and Technology. In Encyclopedia.
HandWiki. "Pakistan Institute of Nuclear Science and Technology." Encyclopedia. Web. 20 November, 2022.
Pakistan Institute of Nuclear Science and Technology

Located in Nilore, it maintains a broad portfolio in providing post-graduate and post-doctoral research opportunities in supercomputing, renewable energy, physical, philosophical, materials, environmental, and mathematical sciences. Researchers and scholars are invited from universities throughout Pakistan.

nilore materials supercomputing

1. Overview

1.1. Research Scope

The PINSTECH is regarded as the one of the most advanced and premium research facility in Pakistan.[1] As of 2016, PINSTECH's major research focus is on:

  • Conducting scientific research and publications in nuclear field at the international level.[1]
  • Technological development on nuclear sciences for peaceful usage.[1]
  • Producing radioisotopes and radio pharmaceuticals for catering to the needs of nuclear medical centers, industry and research establishments.[1]
  • Promoting applications of radiation and isotope technology in various scientific and technological disciplines to support national programs.[1]
  • Undertaking limited production of sophisticated equipment and special nuclear materials.[1]
  • Working on important non-nuclear fields which are crucial for the development of science and technology in the country.[1]

The PAEC Chair Dr. I. H. Usmani wanted a premium nuclear facility whose operations are roughly based on the American facilities such as ORNL, ANL, LLNL, and SNL.[2] Many scientists educated at the ORNL and ANL were initially asked to join the PINSTECH.[2] Designed by world-renowned United States architect Edward Durell Stone in 1963, the construction was completed in 1965.[3]

About the PINSTECH, Edward Stone once inscribed in these words: "This....has been my greatest work. I am proud that it looks like it belongs in this country.."[4]

The scientific library of the institute consisted of 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.[5]

2. History

The roots of the institution dated back to 1951 when Abdus Salam returned to Pakistan to join University of the Punjab.[6] After facing a fierce opposition from his fellow scientists at the physics department of the University of the Punjab in 1953, Salam soon faced the choice between intellectual death or migration to the stimulating environment of a western institutions from Pakistan.[6] This realization left a deep impression on him and behind his determination to create an institution to which physicists from the developing countries would come as a right to interact with their peers from industrially advanced countries without permanently leaving their own countries.[6] 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.[6]

Together with dr. I. H. Usmani, Salam initiated the deal with the United States to established the P in Nilore and gave its first directorship to nuclear physicist dr. Rafi Muhammad Chaudhry of the Government College University, Lahore (GCU). For sometime, the PINSTECH became affiliated with the Quaid-i-Azam University in 1967, bearing some special materials testing.[7] Soon, the scientists from Institute of Theoretical Physics at the Quaid-i-Azam University joined the PINSTECH to engage research in physics.[6] After the war with India in 1971, President of Pakistan Zulfikar Ali Bhutto orchestrated to established an efforts towards a nuclear deterrence loosely based on Manhattan Project of the 1940s.[4] Salam took over the operations of PINSTECH institute to oversee the research and development, and its eventual production of the weapons in 1972.[4]

In 1970s, the PINSTECH was an epicenter and a focal point for Pakistani scientists to conduct research in physics where the basic and applied science research in PINSTECH picked up its speed, when Pakistani scientists feared that India was rapidly developing an atomic bomb.[4] The facility continues its expansion in Nilore by the Corps of Engineers.[4] As Nilore became restricted and secret city, the site was one of the integral site for the nuclear weapons research.[4] In its initial years, the PINSTECH activities were directed towards reprocessing the civilian-grade plutonium to military-grade plutonium.[4] The worked carried out on 20 different laboratories and facilities ran under Munir Ahmad Khan in 1970s. Its first division, the New Labs was dedicated to the production of the weapon grade plutonium of 239Pu. In 1983, Nuclear Physics Division working under Ishfaq Ahmad successfully produced the 239Pu, a weapon grade plutonium.[4] Throughout the formulative year, the scientists and engineers at PINSTECH carried out technologically advanced research at the PINSTECH. 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.[4]

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.

3. Research

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.

4. Nuclear Reactors

Main page: Physics:Pakistan Atomic Research Reactor

PINSTECH has particle accelerators and also operates two small nuclear research reactors, a reprocessing plant and another experimental neutron source based on:

  • PARR-I Reactor-Utilize Low-Enriched Uranium (LEU)
  • PARR-II Reactor-Utilize High-Enriched Uranium (HEU)
  • New Labs-Plutonium reprocessing (PR) facility.
  • Charged Particle Accelerator- a nuclear particle accelerator.
  • Fast Neutron Generator- An experimental neutron generator.

5. Research Divisions

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

5.1. Directorate of Science

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).[8] 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)[9]
  • Electronic and Magnetic Materials Group (EMMG)[10]
  • Nuclear Track Studies Group
  • Nuclear Geology Group
  • Radiation Damage Group
  • Mathematical Physics Group (MPG)[11]
  • Theoretical Physics Group (TPG)[12]

Chemistry Research Division (CRD)

  • Nuclear Chemistry Division (NCD) - The Nuclear Chemistry Division was founded in 1966 by Dr. Iqbal Hussain Qureshi.[13] 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.[14]
  • Applied Chemistry Division
  • Laser Development Division

5.2. Directorate of System and Services

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.[15]
  • 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.[16] The NED has been used to provide technical assistance and training to the field of reactor technology.[17]
  • 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.[18] 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.[19] 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 conditioning as well as water supply to PINSTECH and annexed labs.[20]
  • 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.[21]

5.3. Directorate of Technology

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).This is currently overseen by Dr. Gulzar Hussain Zahid, Chief Engineer.

  • 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.[22]
  • Isotope Application Division (IAD) - The Isotope Application Division (IAD)[23] 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.[24]
  • Isotope Production Division (IPD) - The Isotope Production Division (IPD)[25] It contains Molly Group, Generator Production group, Kit production Group. IPD also involves in modification of exiting isotope production facility.[26]

5.4. Directorate of Coordination

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.[27]

6. User Facilities

  • 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

7. Director Generals (DGs) of PINSTECH

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 Syed Jamshed Hussain Zaidi 2010–Present University of Peshawar, Forschungszentrum Jülich Nuclear Chemistry Doctor of Philosophy (Ph.D)


  1. et. al. Unknown. "Pakistan Institute of Nuclear Science and Technology". Pakistan Chemistry Society. Retrieved 15 November 2014. 
  2. Hasnain, PNRA, S.A (December 7, 2005). "Dr. I.H. Usmani and the Early Days of the PAEC" (PDF). The Nucleus (Islamabad: The Nucleus) 42 (1-2): 13–20. Retrieved 16 November 2014. 
  3. Ahmad, Syed; Ahmad, Mansoor; Khan, H.. "Timelime". Pakistan Defence Consortium. Retrieved 16 November 2014. 
  4. Khan, Feroz Hassan (2012). Eating grass the making of the Pakistani bomb. Palo Alto: Stanford University Press. ISBN 0804784809. Retrieved 16 November 2014. 
  5. Shahidur Rehman, §The Theoretical Physics Group, A Cue from Manhattan Project?, pp51-100, Long Road to Chagai, 1999, Printwise Publications.
  6. Fraser, Gordon (2010). Cosmic Anger: Abdus Salam - The First Muslim Nobel Scientist. Oxford University press. ISBN 0191578665. Retrieved 17 November 2014. 
  7. Lai, editors, Z. Hassan & C.H. (1983). Ideals and realities : selected essays of Abdus Salam. Singapore: World Scientific. ISBN 9971950871. Retrieved 17 November 2014. 
  8. "Physics Research Division". Archived from the original on 2006-06-19. 
  9. It was 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
  10. The EMM Group was founded by Dr. N.M. Butt in 1966 that had produced world acclaim research in Mossbauer Spectroscopy
  11. 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
  12. 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
  13. 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 63Li+21H→42He+22.4 MeV equation for balancing the Q-value and energy balance in a fission device.
  14. "Nuclear Chemistry Division" (Web cache). Archived from the original on January 4, 2005. 
  15. "Health Physics Division" (Web cache). Archived from the original on January 2, 2005. 
  16. The Nuclear Engineering division was used in the designing and construction of PARR-II.
  17. "Nuclear Engineering Division". Archived from the original on October 4, 2006. 
  18. "Electronics Division" (Web cache). Archived from the original on October 4, 2006. 
  19. The PARR-I Upgradation Program was led by Munir Ahmad Khan in 1991. Further discussion can be read at PARR-I Reactor
  20. "General Services Division" (Web cache). Archived from the original on October 4, 2006. 
  21. "Computer Division". 
  22. "Nuclear Material Division" (Web cache). Archived from the original on January 4, 2005. 
  23. 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.
  24. "Radiation Isotope Application Division" (Web cache). Archived from the original on October 4, 2006. 
  25. The Isotope Production Division (IPD) was founded by Mr. M. Bashar Khan in 2002. M. Khalid was made Head of the RIPD Division. The RIPD was the only division in generating funds and have been involve in producing and catering the nuclear medical center needs on regular basis.
  26. "Radiation Isotope Application Division" (Web cache). Archived from the original on October 4, 2006. 
  27. "Scientific Information Division" (Web cache). Archived from the original on October 4, 2006. 
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