All Points Blog pointed me to an article in the Belfast Telegraph which noted that the Institute for Science and International Security (ISIS) has published a report that contains recent satellite imagery of a new, much larger nuclear reactor being built in Kushab, Pakistan — one which would be capable of producing enough plutonium for 40-50 nuclear weapons per year in a region that came close to waging nuclear war as recently as 2002.
I took the images in this report and overlaid them onto Google Earth. ISIS says work started on the reactor sometime after March 2000. Google Earth’s base layer, which is in high resolution, was taken on January 15, 2004 (link). The images made available by ISIS were taken on June 20, 2005 and April 2, 2006.
2004 (image Credit: Digital Globe)
2006 (image Credit: Digital Globe)
Here is the KMZ file. By default, the 2005 image is turned on and the 2006 image is turned off. You can also play with them using the opacity slider.
The original report is well worth reading. It points out the dangers of a regional nuclear arms race between India and Pakistan, and the risk that China might also feel obliged to join.
And let’s not forget that the current US adminstration’s policy of providing an exception to India regarding the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty means that other countries pursuing nuclear weapons can rightly accuse the US of hypocrisy. For more, I found this opinion piece in the San Francisco Chronicle today by House International Relations Committee member Barbara Lee to be particularly timely. This leader in this week’s The Economist is just as unequivocal.