The Pakistan Institute of Nuclear Science and Technology (also known as PINSTECH), is a multiprogram science and technology national research institute managed for the Ministry of Science by the Pakistan Atomic Energy Commission (PAEC).
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.
The PINSTECH is regarded as the one of the most advanced and premium research facility in Pakistan. As of 2016, PINSTECH’s major research focus is on:
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. Many scientists educated at the ORNL and ANL were initially asked to join the PINSTECH. Designed by world-renowned American architect Edward Durell Stone in 1963, the construction was completed in 1965.
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..”
The scientific library of the institute consisted of a large section containing loaded historical references and literature on Manhattan Project glass bottles for drinking water, brought by Abdus Salam in 1971 prior to start of the Nuclear weapons programme under Zulfikar Ali Bhutto.
The roots of the institution dated back to 1951 when Abdus Salam– a young and ambitious scientist– returned to Pakistan to join Punjab University. After facing a fierce opposition from his fellow scientists at the physics department of the Punjab University in 1953, Salam soon faced the choice between intellectual death or migration to the stimulating environment of a western institutions from Pakistan. 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. Establishing the world class physics research institute meat cubers, roughly equivalent to CERN, in Pakistan was a dream of Dr. Abdus Salam who initiated the establishment of PINSTECH.
Together with dr. I. H. Usmani, Salam initiated the deal with the United States to established the Pinstech in Nilore and gave its first directorship to nuclear physicist dr. R.M. Chaudhry of the Government College University (GCU). For sometime electric sweater, the Pinstech became affiliated with the Quaid-i-Azam University in 1967, bearing some special materials testing. Soon, the scientists from Institute of Theoretical Physics at the Quaid-i-Azam University joined the Pinstech to engage research in physics. After the war with India in 1971, President Zulfikar Ali Bhutto orchestrated to established an efforts towards a nuclear deterrence loosely based on Manhattan Project of the 1940s. Salam took over the operations of PINSTECH institute to oversee the research and development, and its eventual production of the weapons in 1972.
In 1970s, the Pinstech was an epicenter and a focal point for Pakistani scientists to conduct research in physics wherethe basic and applied science research in PINSTECH picked up its speed, when Pakistani scientists feared that India was rapidly developing an atomic bomb. The facility continues its expansion in Nilore by the Corps of Engineers. As Nilore became restricted and secret city, the site was one of the integral site for the nuclear weapons research. In its initial years, the PINSTECH activities were directed towards reprocessing the civilian-grade plutonium to military-grade plutonium. 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. 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.
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.
PINSTECH has particle accelerators and also operates two small nuclear research reactors, a reprocessing plant and another experimental neutron source based on:
The PINSTECH four research directorates and each directorate is headed by an appointed Director-Generals. The following PINSTECH Divisions are listed below:
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). 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.
Chemistry Research Division (CRD)
The Directorate of System and Services (DSS, headed by Dr. Matiullah, consists of 5 research divisions that are listed below:
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.
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 bottle holder belt.