Pakistan Building a New Nuclear Reactor

Pakistan is apparently building a new nuclear reactor, capable of producing enough plutonium to produce 40 to 50 nuclear weapons per year.

The White House on Monday sought to discourage Pakistan from expanding its nuclear weapons program after a published report that it was building a powerful new reactor that could generate plutonium for 40 to 50 nuclear bombs a year.

The Washington Post in a story in Monday’s editions cited independent analysts as saying that Pakistan has started working on such a reactor.

“We have been aware of these plans and we discourage any use of that facility for military purposes, such as weapons development,” said White House spokesman Tony Snow in reaction to the story.


It said an assessment by the Washington-based nuclear experts concluded that would represent a 20-fold increase from Pakistan’s existing capabilities.

“South Asia may be heading for a nuclear arms race that could lead to arsenals growing into the hundreds of nuclear weapons, or at minimum, vastly expanded stockpiles of military fissile material,” the institute’s David Albright and Paul Brannan concluded in the report, a copy of which the Post said it was provided.

Althought it’s not particularly a surprise that Pakistan desires to expand its nuclear arsenal, I can’t help but wonder if part of their motivation is the U.S.’s planned nuclear cooperation deal with India. Although the deal wouldn’t nominally effect weapons policy, the Pakistani government may not see it that way.

FILED UNDER: Middle East, National Security, Terrorism, World Politics, , , , ,
Alex Knapp
About Alex Knapp
Alex Knapp is Associate Editor at Forbes for science and games. He was a longtime blogger elsewhere before joining the OTB team in June 2005 and contributed some 700 posts through January 2013. Follow him on Twitter @TheAlexKnapp.


  1. DC Loser says:

    the US-India deal is too recent to have been a factor. This thing was planned long ago and reflects longstanding Pakistani policy of acquiring nuclear weapons, and moving from their inefficient uranium designs to much more potent and smaller plutonium devices.

  2. madmatt says:

    Just more incompetence on the part of the bushies…lets remember what pakistans nuclear “hero” Khan did before and what we can now assume he will do again…that is give nuclear technology and assistance to rogue nations. Nice work guys!

  3. Bhoe says:

    I can�t help but wonder if part of their motivation is the U.S.�s planned nuclear cooperation deal with India.

    Uhh, you think so?? Bush essentially endorsed the nuclear arms race in Central Asia when he demanded no concessions from India.

  4. LJD says:

    You guys will blame the President for just about anything. Why stop at nuclear proliferation, I’m sure he had something to do with Pearl Harbor as well.

    BTW, Khan may have revealed his activities in 2005, but who exactly was President in 1998?