New nu­clear am­bi­tions

Southasia - - BRIEFINGS -

In­dia is ex­pand­ing its ura­nium en­rich­ment pro­gram which can dou­ble the size of its nu­clear ar­se­nal, the Wash­ing­ton-based In­sti­tute for Sci­ence and In­ter­na­tional Se­curåΩåity (ISIS) whas claimed. Based on satel­lite pho­to­graphs, the Amer­i­can think tank said it be­lieves In­dia is step­ping up its pro­duc­tion of gas cen­trifuges to en­rich ura­nium to nu­clear weapon grade. The pho­to­graphs, which were taken in April 2013, show that a build­ing at its se­cret Rare Met­als Plant near Mysore in Karnataka has been ex­tended. "Com­mer­cial satel­lite im­agery shows that the con­struc­tion is fin­ish­ing of what ap­pears to be a sec­ond gas cen­trifuge fa­cil­ity at the Rare Ma­te­ri­als Plant ( RMP), near Mysore," the re­port by David Al­bright and Ser­ena Kelle­her-Ver­gan­tini stated.

US re­searchers have based their claims on a com­par­i­son of satel­lite im­ages from 2010 which ap­peared to show a new plant under con­struc­tion to develop gas cen­trifuges and pic­tures from ear­lier this year which in­di­cate that con­struc­tion is now close to com­ple­tion. The re­port said it was un­clear, how­ever, if the new plant marked an ex­pan­sion of ca­pac­ity or a re­place­ment of an age­ing fa­cil­ity.

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