Khushab Nuclear Complex
|Khushab Nuclear Complex|
Location of Khushab Nuclear Complex in Pakistan
|Location||Khushab District, Punjab|
|Commission date||Unit 1: 1998, Unit 2: 2010 Unit 3: 2013|
|Operator(s)||Pakistan Atomic Energy Commission (PAEC)|
|Nuclear power station|
|Reactor type||Heavy water reactor/
plutonium production reactor
|Reactor supplier||Pakistan Atomic Energy Commission (PAEC)|
|Units operational||3 (~150MWth)|
|Units under const.||1 (~50MWth)|
The heavy water and natural uranium reactors at Khushab are a central element of Pakistan's program to produce plutonium and tritium for use in compact nuclear warheads. Khushab Nuclear Complex, like that at Kahuta, is not subject to International Atomic Energy Agency inspections.
The three currently operating reactors have capacities variously reported at between 40 MWt to 50 MWt, and as high as 70 MWt. They are conservatively estimated to be capable of producing 33 kg of weapons grade plutonium annually. Plutonium production and nuclear reprocessing facilities are being expanded at Khushab, New Labs and Chashma, signalling Pakistan's shift to a plutonium-based nuclear weapons program.
Pakistan's first indigenous nuclear reactor was commissioned at Khushab in March 1996. The Khushab Nuclear Complex was conceived and planned by the chairman of the Pakistan Atomic Energy Commission (PAEC) Munir Ahmad Khan who began work on the 50 MWt Khushab-I reactor and heavy water plant in 1986. He appointed nuclear engineer Sultan Bashiruddin Mahmood and Dr. N.A. Javed, both from the PAEC, as the Project-Directors for the reactor and the heavy water plant respectively. According to a Pakistani press report this reactor began operating in early 1998.
Based on the success of these projects and the experience and capability gained during their construction, onsite construction work on the second unit began around 2001 or 2002. In February 2010 Prime Minister Yousaf Raza Gillani and senior military officers attended a ceremony at the Khushab complex for what is believed to be the completion of the second reactor.
The third unit was constructed between 2006 and 2011. As of 2013 it appears to be complete and in operation although there has been no official indication. Construction of the fourth unit began in 2010 and is still underway.
Judging by external appearance all but the first reactor are similar or identical in design.
Khushab-I was commissioned in March 1996 and had gone critical and began production in early 1998. It is a 50 MWt Heavy water and natural uranium research reactor for production of plutonium and tritium for advanced compact warheads.
The construction of Khushab II started in 2001 and was commpleted in 2009 and it went in production in 2010. Khushab-II is a 50 MWt Heavy water reactor producing 11-15 kilogram of plutonium and tritium a year for the Pakistan's nuclear weapons programme.
The construction of Khushab III started in 2006 and was completed in 2010 and it went in production in October 2013. Khushab-III is a 50 MWt Heavy water reactor producing 11-15 kilogram of plutonium and tritium a year for the Pakistan's nuclear weapons programme.
The construction of Khushab-IV started in 2011. By 2012, the construction was roughly 50 percent finished in building Khushab-IV, fourth nuclear reactor site at a facility that generates plutonium for nuclear bombs. Khushab-IV, from satellite imagery, appears different from earlier reactors.
There are plans to construct Khushab-V in the future. The space-based surveillance did not turn up any signs that work had begun on a potential fifth plutonium reactor at Khushab.
- Pakistan may have completed new plutonium production reactor, Khushab-II
- MA Chaudhri, "Pakistan's Nuclear History: Separating Myth from Reality," Defence Journal, May, 2006.
- "Pakistan's Indigenous Nuclear Reactor Starts Up," Islamabad The Nation, April 13, 1998
- Asian Defence
- Khushab Nuclear Complex
- Third Pakistani Nuclear Reactor Operational
- Pakistan Presses Ahead on Plutonium Reactor
- Fourth Nuclear Reactor at Pakistan's Khushab Site
- Pakistan closer to completing fourth nuclear reactor at Khushab
- External Work on Pakistan Plutonium Reactor Looks Nearly Done
- Pakistan Plutonium Production Reactor at Khushab Nuclear Site
- Pakistans Nuclear Ambitions
- Khushab Complex