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.