Pakistan building new reactors?

Pakistan: just the kind of stable, responsible country we’d like to see expanding its ability to produce nuclear weapons. The Institute for Science and International Security reports:  ISIS has obtained commercial satellite imagery from DigitalGlobe taken on September 3, 2008, May 18, 2008 and February 9, 2008 of the Khushab plutonium production reactor site in ...

Pakistan: just the kind of stable, responsible country we'd like to see expanding its ability to produce nuclear weapons. The Institute for Science and International Security reports:

 ISIS has obtained commercial satellite imagery from DigitalGlobe taken on September 3, 2008, May 18, 2008 and February 9, 2008 of the Khushab plutonium production reactor site in Pakistan. The imagery shows further construction of the second and third plutonium production reactors at Khushab (Figure 1), and that construction of the second reactor may be nearing completion. The images show a clearly visible row of cooling towers, typically built in the later phase of reactor construction (Figure 3). Given this state of construction, the second reactor could start in a year.

Once completed, these reactors will increase several-fold Pakistan’s ability to make weapon-grade plutonium for nuclear weapons. The wider implication of Pakistan increasing its plutonium production capacity must not be overlooked—there is a real risk that it will exacerbate an India-Pakistan nuclear arms race and increase tensions more broadly between the two.

Pakistan: just the kind of stable, responsible country we’d like to see expanding its ability to produce nuclear weapons. The Institute for Science and International Security reports:

 ISIS has obtained commercial satellite imagery from DigitalGlobe taken on September 3, 2008, May 18, 2008 and February 9, 2008 of the Khushab plutonium production reactor site in Pakistan. The imagery shows further construction of the second and third plutonium production reactors at Khushab (Figure 1), and that construction of the second reactor may be nearing completion. The images show a clearly visible row of cooling towers, typically built in the later phase of reactor construction (Figure 3). Given this state of construction, the second reactor could start in a year.

Once completed, these reactors will increase several-fold Pakistan’s ability to make weapon-grade plutonium for nuclear weapons. The wider implication of Pakistan increasing its plutonium production capacity must not be overlooked—there is a real risk that it will exacerbate an India-Pakistan nuclear arms race and increase tensions more broadly between the two.

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