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‘Fourth Pakistani reactor under construction’

Pakistan: In DigitalGlobe satellite imagery of January 15, 2011, it appears as if Pakistan is building fourth reactor at Khushab nuclear site, according to Institute for Science and International Security (ISIS). In a press statement, ISIS said that Pakistan is determined to produce considerably more plutonium for nuclear weapons.

 Figure1  Figure2

Figure 1 shows the building relatively early in its construction, but the footprint for the building is similarly sized to that of the second and third Khushab reactors (see figure 2). The arrangement of other buildings relative to the building footprint is also consistent with the arrangement of buildings next to the third reactor as seen when it was under construction.  A new construction staging and storage area can be seen south of the new construction. The new construction is located several hundred meters south of second and third Khushab reactor compound (see figure 3). 

Figure3 Figure4

In commercial satellite imagery from December 2009, vapour could be seen rising from some of the second reactor’s cooling tower fan blades, indicating that the second reactor was at least at some stage of initial operation. Vapour can again be seen rising from some of the second reactor’s cooling towers in the January 15, 2011 imagery (see figure 4), though none can be seen yet over the third reactor’s cooling towers.

Source: ISIS