WASHINGTON, Dec 22 — Press Trust of India, quoting a US think-tank Institute for Science and International Security (ISIS) report, claims that Pakistan has almost completed the external construction of “a fourth reactor building” at the Khushab ‘nuclear complex’ which, ISIS believes, “produces plutonium for the country’s nuclear weapons programme.”
For the last several years ISIS has used commercial satellite imagery to monitor developments at the Khushab complex. In a recent report images from November 1 clearly show that “the external construction of the fourth reactor building appears nearly complete”.
Pakistan is working to ramp up production at the complex so that it can build more “miniaturised plutonium-based nuclear weapons,” ISIS said.
The Khushab site originally had one heavy water reactor in the 1990s and Pakistan began work on a second reactor during 2000-02, a third one in 2006 and the fourth one in 2011.
“The expansion of the Khushab nuclear site with the addition of reactors 2, 3 and 4 appears to be part of a strategic effort by Pakistan to boost weapon-grade plutonium production,” ISIS said in its latest report, claims the PTI story.
“This increased capability would allow Pakistan to build a larger number of miniaturised plutonium-based nuclear weapons in order to complement its existing arsenal of highly enriched uranium weapons,” the report said.