Russian Federation Foreign Intelligence Service
6 April 1995
The appendixes presented below represent the concise results of the analysis of available reports on the nuclear potential of individual countries. They give the most general appraisals and conclusions. For understandable reasons, the latter are not always corroborated by references to official data.
These appendixes naturally do not cover all countries that have their own nuclear potential. The countries chosen are, in the opinion of Russian intelligence, the most instructive from the standpoint of the problem to which the present report is devoted.
We do not exclude the possibility that upon examination of the appraisals presented, certain objections or questions may arise. We are prepared to accept and analyze all materials that do not agree with the conclusions given.
Chinese personnel at the as-Salyam reactor have been drastically reduced. The reactor is under IAEA safeguards. The last IAEA inspection in Algeria in 1994 did not reveal any violations. The country had a program for building a network of NPP's [nuclear power plant], for the most part in the southern regions where reserves of uranium ore have been explored. However, at the present time due to the grave economic conditions, the program for developing nuclear power engineering has been virtually frozen.
There is no information that would confirm the existence of
military nuclear program in the country.
Algeria subscribed to the Treaty on Nonproliferation of
Nuclear Weapons in January 1995.
The country possesses a dependable raw material base for developing atomic energy, NPP's are under construction or are in operation, highly skilled scientific cadres have been trained, technologies for enriching uranium have been obtained, and there are nuclear research centers.
Among the countries of Latin America, Argentina has the most developed nuclear industry. Its program is being realized in two areas. On the one hand, a nuclear fuel cycle is being created with the help of the industrially developed states of the West and under IAEA control. On the other, using their own efforts, low power nuclear installations which have not yet been put under international control are being built.
Argentina is a member of the IAEA and has signed the Tlatelolco Treaty for the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons in Latin America, as well as the Convention on Physical Protection of Nuclear Materials. A special agreement has been signed among Argentina, Brazil, AVASS [Brazilian-Argentinian Agency for Recordkeeping and Control of Nuclear Materials], and the IAEA which envisions the application of the Agency's full-scale safeguards to the nuclear activities of these countries. At the same time, however, the leading supplier countries are not taking part in developing the criteria on nuclear export policies.
In March 1995, Argentina subscribed to the Treaty on
Nonproliferation of Nuclear Weapons, which undoubtedly will help
reinforce the nuclear nonproliferation regime, including in
The country has a dependable raw material base for developing atomic power engineering, NPP's are under construction or are in operation, highly skilled scientific cadres have been trained, technologies for enriching uranium have been obtained, and there are several nuclear research centers.
Brazil is a member of the IAEA, although it has not subscribed to the Treaty on Nonproliferation of Nuclear Weapons, considering it discriminatory and infringing on Brazil's rights to obtain the latest technologies. It has ratified the Tlatelolco Treaty for the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons in Latin America and the Convention on Physical Protection of Nuclear Material. A quadrilateral special agreement has been signed among Argentina, Brazil, the AVASS, and the IAEA which envisions the application of the Agency's full-scale safeguards to the nuclear activities of these countries.
The Brazilian Government has announced its renunciation of nuclear testing even for peaceful purposes. There is no data on the existence of nuclear weapons in Brazil. At the same time, however, information is periodically received on the existence in the country of a major, advanced program of research of an applied military nature, which is a topic of discussion in scientific circles.
Nuclear activity is carried on within the framework of two programs: the official nuclear power engineering program carried on under IAEA control, and a "parallel" program which is being realized under the actual leadership of the country's armed forces, above all the Navy.
Although Brazil has taken important steps toward nuclear nonproliferation, the existing "parallel nuclear program" is not under IAEA control. Work on it is being done largely at the Institute of Power Engineering and Nuclear Research, the Air Force Center of Aerospace Technology, the Center for Technical Developments of the Brazilian Army, and in addition the Nuclear Research Institute.
There are no reports of the existence of nuclear weapons in Egypt. Egypt's possessing nuclear weapons is not expected in the foreseeable future. Egypt has subscribed to the Treaty on Nonproliferation of Nuclear Weapons.
At the same time, however, serious work on developing nuclear potential designated for use in power engineering, agriculture, medicine, biotechnology, and genetics is being done, according to official statements. Industrial incorporation of four explored uranium deposits is planned, including the extraction and enrichment of uranium for subsequent use as fuel for atomic power plants. There is in operation a scientific-research reactor with a capacity of 2 megawatts, launched in 1961 with Soviet technical assistance. An agreement was signed with India in 1991 to increase the capacity of this reactor to 5 megawatts. The 30 years of operation of the reactor have enabled Egypt to acquire its own scientific base and fairly skilled cadres. There are, moreover, agreements with Great Britain and India to provide assistance in training national cadres for scientific research and work on the country's atomic enterprises.
In early 1992, a deal was made for Argentina to deliver one more reactor with a capacity of 22 megawatts to Egypt. The contract signed in 1991 for the delivery to Egypt of a Russian MGD-20 cyclotron accelerator remains in force.
Since 1990 Egypt has been a member of the Arab Power Engineering Organization uniting 11 countries. A number of Egyptian scientific projects are being carried out under the aegis of the IAEA. There are bilateral agreements in the area of the peaceful use of atomic energy with Germany, the United States, Russia, India, China, and Argentina.
Israel is a country which unofficially possesses nuclear weapons. The Israeli leadership itself does not confirm but does not refute reports of the existence of nuclear weapons on the country's territory.
Above all a heavy water reactor and an installation for processing irradiated fuel are being used to produce nuclear material of weapons purity. They are not under IAEA safeguards, although Israel is a member of this international organization. Their capacities are sufficient to manufacture five to 10 nuclear warheads a year. A reactor with the capacity of 26 megawatts was put on line in 1963 with France's help and modernized in the 1970's. After its capacity was increased to 75-150 megawatts, the production of plutonium was able to rise from 7-8 kilograms of fissionable plutonium a year to 20-40 kilograms. The installation for processing irradiated fuel was created approximately in 1960, also with a French firm's assistance. From 15 to 40 kilograms of fissionable plutonium can be obtained there in a year.
In addition, reserves of fissionable plutonium can be increased using the heavy water reactor with a capacity of 250 megawatts at the new NPP whose construction was officially announced in 1984. Under a certain work mode, it is estimated the reactor can provide more than 50 kilograms of plutonium a year.
Israel has been accused of secretly buying and stealing nuclear materials in other countries--the United States, Great Britain, France, and the FRG. Thus, in the United States in 1986, the disappearance of more than 100 kilograms of enriched uranium was discovered at one of the plants in the state of Pennsylvania, presumably for Israel's benefit. Tel Aviv acknowledged that it had illegally imported critrons, an important element in creating contemporary models of nuclear weapons, from the United States in the early 1980's. Reserves of uranium in Israel are estimated to be sufficient for its own needs and even for export for roughly 200 years. Uranium compounds can be produced at three plants for producing phosphoric acid as a byproduct to the extent of about 100 tonnes a year. In order to enrich uranium, back in 1974 the Israelis patented a method of laser enrichment, but in 1978 they developed an even more economic method of splitting uranium isotopes based on the difference in their magnetic properties. Israel also participated in the "enrichment studies" using the aerodynamic nozzle method conducted in the Republic of South Africa.
Altogether, on this base Israel could potentially have produced around 20 nuclear warheads in the period 1970-1980, and from 100 to 200 warheads to date.
Moreover, the country's high scientific-technical potential allows it to continue research and development in the direction of improving the design of nuclear weapons, notably creating modifications with higher radiation and a faster nuclear reaction. Tel Aviv's interest in developing thermonuclear weapons cannot be ruled out.
Available information allows us to identify the following most important facilities (with a certain degree of arbitrariness in describing their main designations) which are components of the country's military nuclear potential:
The country has high industrial and scientific-technical potential, skilled national cadres, and the material and financial resources to create WMD.
A member of the IAEA, India has nonetheless not signed agreements to put all its nuclear activities under this organization's guarantee and has not subscribed to the Treaty on Nonproliferation of Nuclear Weapons, considering it "discriminatory" against nonnuclear states. India is one of the few developing countries able to independently design and build nuclear power generating units and perform various operations within the framework of the fuel cycle, beginning with extracting uranium and ending with reprocessing spent fuel and processing wastes.
The country has its own reserves of uranium, which according to IAEA estimates come to about 35,000 tonnes with costs of around 80 dollars a kilogram to obtain. Reserves of natural uranium and the amount of uranium concentrate being produced are on a level sufficient to operate existing reactors, but their limited nature may be a major obstacle to the development of India's atomic power engineering in 15-20 years. In light of that, Indian specialists consider using thorium, with deposits in the country of about 400,000 tonnes, as an alternative way to expand their raw material base. Here we should mention that unique research has been done in India and significant results have been achieved in developing a technology for using thorium in the fuel cycle. According to available data, experimental work is being done to isolate the uranium 233 isotope by irradiating thorium oxide assemblies in a reactor.
India possesses large capacities for producing more than 300 tonnes of D20-type heavy water a year and may become one of its exporters. The agreement signed in April of last year on deliveries of heavy water to South Korea was India's first appearance on the international "nuclear market."
Overall, India has been able to achieve substantial progress in its nuclear program and develop original technologies; this permits it to follow an independent policy in the sphere of nuclear power engineering. India is no more than 10 percent dependent on foreign equipment in atomic industry (according to estimates of Indian specialists).
At the present time, the country has nine industrial reactors with a total capacity of about 1,600 megawatts (el.). Of them only two NPP's, in Tarapur and Rajastan, are under IAEA safeguards. Specialists believe that in the near future India will become a supplier of heavy water reactors to other countries.
Moreover, the country has eight research reactors. The most powerful of them is the Dhruva reactor with a thermal capacity of 100 megawatts; it was built entirely by Indian specialists. According to the statement of Indian representatives, the reactor is designed for producing isotopes for industrial purposes, medicine, and agriculture. But it can also be considered a potential producer of plutonium. Overall, India has created its own nuclear fuel cycle for experimental and research reactors (pilot installations) and for power-generating reactors (industrial installations). However, the research reactors and their fuel cycle are not under IAEA safeguards.
According to experts' estimates, by exploding its own nuclear device in 1974, India laid a powerful foundation for developing a military nuclear program. It has both great production potential and a testing base. With reserves of irradiated reactor fuel which are not under safeguards, the country may process it to extract plutonium to create a powerful arsenal of nuclear weapons.
At the same time, the UN Special Commission [SC] has been making preparations for long-term monitoring in Iraq in order to prevent the resumption of Iraqi programs to build WMD, above all nuclear ones. The UN Baghdad control center is at this point practically prepared to perform the tasks it faces. But the launching of the monitoring mechanism is delayed because the SC is not ready to announce that the process of destroying all types of Iraq's WMD, as UN Security Council resolutions require, is over.
Iraq is a member of the IAEA and a participant in the NPT, but that did not prevent it from doing research work on nuclear weapons.
Based on Iraq's obvious violation of the Treaty on Nonproliferation of Nuclear Weapons and the agreement on IAEA safeguards, the initiators of UN Security Council Resolution No. 687, the United States and Great Britain, are insisting on the maximum constriction of the extent of future nuclear activity permitted Iraq.
The SVR has received no reports indicating that Iraq is presently continuing work in the area of nuclear weapons.
Until 1979 Iran was implementing a program to use atomic energy for peaceful purposes which envisioned the construction of 23 NPP's. These days it is implementing a more moderate program which employs the following bodies:
Since 1968 the center has been working on a research reactor with a nominal capacity of 5 megawatts delivered from the United States and under IAEA safeguards. Construction of an installation for producing radioisotopes is complete (suspicions were presented that this installation can produce plutonium from spent nuclear fuel, but no information that this work is being done there has been confirmed).
There is an installation for producing "yellow cake," which has not been working recently because its technical condition is unsatisfactory.
A research wing called Ebn-e Qasem was put on line on the center's territory in October 1992; a laser technology laboratory is located there. According to available data, the laboratory has no lasers suitable for splitting uranium isotopes.
A MNSR [miniaturized neutron source reactor] research reactor with a capacity of 25/5 megawatts was bought in the PRC for the center. According to available reports, preparatory steps have recently been taken to put the reactor on line. Vigorous construction work is being done on the center's territory. There have been no signs indicating that the new buildings are designed for housing equipment for nuclear technologies for military purposes.
At this point no reports indicating the existence of space adapted for doing work with radioactive materials have been received. Construction is complete on just one building, which houses a dosimetry laboratory and an agricultural radiochemistry laboratory. There are several other buildings under construction, one of which is to have a calutron, an electromagnetic separator for extracting nonradioactive (stable) isotopes. This building has an ordinary ventilation system and in terms of the degree of radiation protection cannot be used for work with radioactive substances. The separator was bought from the PRC for the purpose of obtaining materials for targets which are to be radiated with neutron streams in the 30 million electron volt cyclotron. Construction of the cyclotron was completed in January 1995.
Created on the base of the local university. Engaged in geophysical research and the geology of the deposit located 40 kilometers southeast of the populated point of Sagend [as transliterated], which in turn lies 165 kilometers northeast of the city of Yazd. The deposit is 100-150 square kilometers in area, and reserves are estimated at 3,000-4,000 tonnes of uranium oxide (U3O8 equivalent; the U-235 content is very low and comes to about 0.08 to 1.0 percent. At the present time, work is being done at the deposit to finish exploration and to prepare it for exploitation. Practical exploitation of this deposit has not yet begun.
The installation is suspected of conducting unannounced nuclear activity unmonitored by the IAEA and is located near Qazvin in the mountains north of Tehran. It is under construction. It has been checked by IAEA inspectors and according to their official report (as of February 1992), nuclear activities are not being carried out at this installation. Equipment has recently begun to arrive at the installation in Mo'alem Kalaye. There are no signs indicating this equipment could be classified as nuclear equipment. The high seismicity of the region does not permit a reactor producing plutonium to be located there, but the area of the installation is sufficient to house equipment of acceptable productivity to obtain weapons-grade uranium.
There is no information on any illegal deliveries of nuclear raw materials or nuclear fuel to Iran.
The erection of a factory for processing uranium ore on the country's territory is not expected before the year 2005. At the same time, some Western experts express doubts about the proposition that in present conditions there are no grounds for the international community to put up obstacles to prevent Tehran from realizing its peaceful nuclear program even under IAEA control. Moreover, various levels of official representatives of the United States have repeatedly declared they are certain that Iran is implementing a military nuclear program and, according to their latest estimates, can achieve its goals in five years, that is to say, by the year 2000. This claim is questionable.
The essence of Tehran's approach, in the Americans' opinion, is to comply with the NPT and build its own peaceful nuclear program in such a way that if the appropriate political decision is made, know-how gained in the peaceful sphere (specialists and equipment) could be used to create nuclear weapons. Based on that, Washington draws the fundamental conclusion that countries that supply nuclear technology should refrain from any cooperation with Iran in the nuclear field until there is sufficiently strong evidence of Iran's sincere and lasting adherence to exclusively peaceful use of nuclear energy. The present climate, in Washington's opinion, does not meet this criterion.
However, such accusations against Iran are frequently based on clearly unconfirmed information. Thus, for example, a campaign in 1992-1994 in the foreign mass information media, especially American and West European media, over four nuclear warheads which Tehran supposedly bought from Kazakhstan is well known. Meanwhile, as the leadership of the CIA has repeatedly stated, this department has not recorded even one sale of nuclear weapons from the republics of the former USSR. The IRI's level of achievements in the nuclear field is no higher than the same indicator for 20-25 other countries of the world.
The scientific-experimental infrastructure in the nuclear field was created in the 1960's. At this point, a number of specialized scientific-research institutes continue to operate in the country, including the scientific-research institute at the Atomic Center in Yongbyon, the institutes of nuclear power engineering and radiology and the nuclear physics department at Pyongyang University, and the nuclear research technologies chair at Kim Chaek Polytechnical Institute. The DPRK has the necessary raw material base and network of atomic industry facilities which along with the scientific-research institutes make up the country's nuclear complex.
The decision to start developing nuclear power engineering in the country was made in light of the need for self-sufficiency in electricity. The DPRK does not have tested oil reserves. The country is experiencing an acute shortage of electricity, 50 percent of which is produced at hydroelectric power plants and about 50 percent at thermal electric power plants. The North Koreans' selection of the way to develop nuclear power engineering on the basis of gas-graphite reactors has an objective basis:
According to SVR experts' appraisal, the political decision to start work on creating nuclear weapons was made in the DPRK on the threshold of the 1970's. However, in light of various difficulties of an economic, financial, and scientific-technical nature, the military part of the DPRK nuclear program developed sporadically. Cases of its "freezing" and subsequent resumption were noted. The DPRK's increasing foreign policy and economic isolation intensified difficulties in this area even more. Nonetheless, relying for the most part on their own efforts, the North Koreans managed to create an almost complete plutonium nuclear cycle which can be schematically represented in this way:
Figure 3. North Korean Plutonium Nuclear Cycle
The experimental gas-graphite reactor with electrical capacity of 5 megawatts (thermal capacity of 25-30 megawatts) put on line in January 1986 can on the basis of its technical features be used for producing weapons-grade plutonium.
It is assumed that while the reactor was shut down in 1989, the North Koreans unloaded irradiated nuclear fuel. There are no reliable data on whether it was processed at the chemical laboratory and if it was, how much weapons-grade plutonium was obtained. Theoretically, enough Pu-239 to produce one to two nuclear warheads can be obtained from the 8,000 rods depending on the degree of their combustion. However, the existence of weapons-grade plutonium still does not predetermine the real potential to create a nuclear charge. Once again purely theoretically, the North Koreans could do work in the two directions shown in the diagram.
Figure 4. Directions for Work on a Nuclear Charge
The creation of a cannon-type (or a so-called primitive-type) plutonium charge seems unrealistic, and this way is essentially a blind alley in light of physical and technical limitations involving the realization of the principle of converging subcritical masses and ensuring an instantaneous chain reaction. The second way is to create an impulse nuclear charge on the basis of plutonium--this has already been done by the nuclear powers and required that they resolve extremely complex scientific and technical problems which remain under the strictest secrecy.
According to SVR experts' appraisal, the present scientific-technical level and technological saturation of the nuclear facilities in the DPRK does not permit North Korean specialists to create a nuclear explosive device suitable for range testing, let alone modeling cold testing of a plutonium-type warhead in laboratory conditions. Even allowing the possibility of producing a certain amount of weapons-grade plutonium, the creation of an effective nuclear charge seems quite unrealistic.
The precedent the DPRK created for assuming a "special status" within the framework of the NPT and the IAEA and in addition the unsettled nature of the North Korean "nuclear problem" overall continue to alarm the world community. However, we should mention certain positive advances in the settlement process. The reactor in Yongbyon has been shut down and the spent fuel from it has been unloaded and stored in storage facilities, and the possibility (albeit limited) remains of IAEA monitoring activity in the DPRK. The Geneva Accords of 21 October 1994 laid a definite foundation for using political and economic means to resolve the problem.
Of course, the interested parties are encountering and will continue to encounter many contradictions that are difficult to resolve on this path. The process itself is expected to be a long one.
At one time Western experts classified Libya among the "most dangerous" countries from the standpoint that applied military research was being done there in the area of WMD, notably nuclear ones, but recently they have made admissions that this appraisal was clearly exaggerated.
Libya has some experience in research in the nuclear field. The nuclear center in Tajura which came on line in 1982 with the former USSR's help is the only nuclear facility in the country and does research work for the peaceful use of atomic energy. The Libyan leadership has offered the country's territory for international inspections by the IAEA and confirmed its adherence to the Treaty on Nonproliferation of Nuclear Weapons.
A military nuclear program was begun in the mid-1970's and was oriented to the uranium-based way to create nuclear weapons. According to available information, the country has the technical potential for accelerated production of six to 12 nuclear devices with a capacity of around 20 kt [kilotons]. Pakistan's independence in providing fissionable materials is an objective condition for this, since there are sufficient reserves of uranium ore in some regions of the country. Information has also recently appeared on Pakistan scientists' interest in using plutonium for military purposes.
Pakistan's official authorities do not deny the ability to produce nuclear weapons, but they claim that they will not create them to use against any particular country and the "maintenance of military readiness" is dictated by the "continued imbalance" between Pakistan and India in the military field.
Pakistan is a member of the IAEA, but it has not subscribed to the Treaty on Nonproliferation of Nuclear Weapons or the Convention on Physical Protection of Nuclear Material and does not participate in international agreements regarding control over nuclear exports.
The existence of its own scientific research base, the necessary scientific personnel, and contemporary technology for enriching uranium to 90 percent promote the successful development of the nuclear program. A plant in Kahuta provides the NPP in Karachi with nuclear fuel and creates reserves for future power plants.
In constructing NPP's, doing scientific research, and creating an industrial base for producing its own nuclear reactors, Pakistan plans to rely on aid from the PRC. Despite the vigorous opposition of the United States and other Western countries, in late 1992 the government made the decision to acquire a nuclear reactor with a capacity of 300 megawatts in China.
In coming years Pakistan intends to try to build at least another two to three atomic reactors (one of which with a power generating unit for 300 megawatts will be built by the PRC over a period of six years). Before construction of the new reactors is complete, the Karachi power plant is to be modernized and its service life extended for another 20 years.
The country's leadership realizes that acquiring atomic technologies and equipment on the world market is directly dependent on signing the NPT. Without doing that, Western designs of contemporary fast neutron reactors which can serve as a source for obtaining weapons-grade uranium 235 or plutonium will in fact remain unavailable to Pakistan.
Overall we can assume that Pakistani nuclear technology is
a fairly high level, and the nuclear center in Kahuta is capable
of ensuring production of highly enriched uranium sufficient to
create an atomic bomb.
The Republic of Korea
Does not have its own nuclear weapons. Judging from U.S. and ROK announcements, American tactical nuclear weapons have been removed from the country's territory.
The Republic of Korea subscribed to the Treaty on Nonproliferation of Nuclear Weapons the day it was opened for signature, 1 July 1968, but ratified it only on 14 March 1975. The South Korean leaders explain such a long delay saying that the PRC and the DPRK did not put their signatures on the Treaty, while Japan has not ratified it.
The country's nuclear activity has been put under IAEA guarantee. Inspections are done quarterly for the purpose of monitoring the safe use of nuclear energy, the amount of uranium imported into the country, and the storage of spent fuel for atomic reactors.
The start of the ROK nuclear program dates to 1959. The necessary scientific research infrastructure for doing work in the area of nuclear power engineering was created in subsequent years.
At present South Korea is distinguished by the advanced level of its program for developing peaceful nuclear power engineering, which in the long term is oriented to subsequently increasing electricity production in order to maintain a high rate of industrial development and reduce dependence on foreign supplies of coal and oil. The program is being realized through extensive cooperation with industrially developed countries and envisions concluding long-term contracts for delivery of reactor fuel and materials to manufacture it combined with the desire to have South Korean capital participate directly in working foreign uranium deposits.
South Korea's own reserves of uranium come to around 11,800 tonnes. Based on future needs, exploration work on uranium deposits is being done both on its territory and abroad (United States, Canada, and Gabon).
At present South Korea has nine operating power generating reactors with a total rated capacity of about 7.2 gigawatts built with the help of Western companies. There are now five power-generating reactors with a total capacity of about 4.3 gigawatts in the construction stage. In addition to those enumerated, another eight light water (at 950 megawatts each) and five heavy water reactors (at 630 megawatts each) are to be built before the year 2006.
In 1990 after a line for reconversion of uranium for light water reactors was put into operation, South Korea became truly independent in terms of supplying reactor fuel for its own nuclear power engineering. Earlier, in 1987, a plant for producing fuel for heavy water reactors went on line. In June 1992, plans were announced to build one more plant for producing nuclear fuel.
South Koreans believe that with the charging of fuel in the reactor of power unit No. 3 of the NPP in the city of Yonggwang on 14 September 1994, the ROK entered the age of independence from foreign partners in the area of nuclear power engineering. Power unit No. 3 is equipped with a PWR-type reactor with a capacity of 1,000 megawatts chosen as the base for all NPP's being built or designed. An absolute majority of the NPP units and assemblies were developed by South Korean specialists. Foreign firms merely act as subcontractors.
At present each NPP has an irradiated fuel storage facility designed for only 10 years. In light of that, work is being done to expand the storage facilities at the oldest power plants, Kori-1 and Wolsong-1. A permanent waste storage facility is to be erected by 1995, and by 1997, a central irradiated fuel storage facility for 3,000 tonnes of uranium.
No decision has been made in South Korea on developing the chemical processing of irradiated reactor fuel and using plutonium as part of the fuel for power engineering reactors. At the same time, however, there are reports that suggest that the Koreans along with the Canadians are studying the possibility of burning the irradiated fuel of light water reactors in heavy water reactors.
Until the mid-1970's, the Republic of Korea had a small
program of an applied military character whose degree of
advancement we do not know. In 1976, work on this program was
suspended under U.S. pressure. South Korea made a choice in
favor of the American "nuclear umbrella."
However, even after that some of the country's political and
military leaders did not reject the wisdom of having their own
With developed industrial and scientific-technical potential, Taiwan is in a position, according to experts' appraisals, to create components of WMD and means to deliver them. Taiwan does not have nuclear weapons. However, Taiwan has made attempts to organize production of plutonium on an experimental basis.
Developed atomic power engineering has been created in the country with the technical assistance of American and Western European states. By the mid-1980's, there were already six nuclear power units with a total capacity of 4,900 megawatts operating in Taiwan.
The Taiwanese Nuclear Energy Scientific Research Institute was set up in 1965 and by 1985 had a staff of over 1,100 people. The institute has contemporary scientific equipment, a research reactor, and laboratories in which development work is done in the area of the production of nuclear fuel and the study of the technology for radiochemical processing of irradiated uranium. Taiwan's Defense Ministry system also has research subdivisions which are scientifically well equipped and specialize in the area of nuclear physics. Taiwan has a significant number of highly skilled nuclear specialists who have been trained abroad. More than 700 Taiwanese specialists received this training in various countries, notably the United States, in the period from 1968 through 1983 alone. As nuclear power engineering developed, the scale of training of specialists abroad increased. In some years more than 100 Taiwanese nuclear specialists left for training, for the most part in the United States.
Taiwan does not have its own natural reserves of nuclear raw materials and actively cooperates with other countries in searching for and exploring uranium deposits. A five-year agreement between a Taiwanese and an American firm on joint development of uranium ore in the United States was signed in 1985. That same year a contract was signed with the Republic of South Africa for a 10-year supply of uranium from that country. Taiwan is a member of the Treaty on Nonproliferation of Nuclear Weapons, although it has no agreement with the IAEA to put all its nuclear activity under this organization's guarantee. IAEA safeguards extend only to those facilities and nuclear materials where this was stipulated in the conditions of the contract upon delivery to the country.
We can assert with sufficient confidence that officially imported nuclear technologies, knowledge, and equipment do not enable Taiwan to create nuclear weapons, but do provide it with the necessary know-how to do work in the nuclear field and may accelerate the country's own nuclear developments of a military nature, if such a decision is made.
For the first time in world history, the government of a country possessing nuclear weapons made a courageous decision and voluntarily renounced them, essentially carrying out nuclear disarmament on a unilateral basis. Naturally, such a step could not occur painlessly and smoothly for the country and without causing a fierce and at times ambiguous response both within the RSA and within the entire international community. The start of work within the framework of a nuclear program can be dated to 1970, and the RSA took the "well-beaten" path of creating a cannon-type nuclear charge, which allowed it to avoid range testing and thereby maintain its nuclear capabilities in strictest secrecy. In 1974 the political decision was made to create a "limited" nuclear arsenal. From that moment the construction of an experimental test range in the Kalahari desert began.
The first cannon-type nuclear charge based on uranium with 80 percent enrichment and a capacity on the order of 3 kilotons was manufactured in 1979. By 1989 the RSA had become the possessor of another five charges with an estimated capacity of 10-18 kt. The seventh device was in the production stage at the time the decision was made to destroy the entire arsenal in light of the RSA's preparations to join the NPT.
The design features of the explosive device and the orientation of scientific research and development allow us to assume that the RSA enhanced the warheads by using highly enriched (more than 80 percent) uranium with additives of deuterium and tritium in them. For these purposes, 30 grams of tritium were obtained from Israel in exchange for 600 metric tonnes of uranium oxide. This quantity of tritium, in specialists' estimates, would in principle be sufficient to produce around 20 enhanced warheads (the storage facility detected in the RSA was designed for 17 units).
Analysis of information on the RSA military nuclear program shows that by 1991, in terms of the quality of the country's scientific-experimental base and production-technological potential, the country had reached the point where it could completely realistically begin developing and creating more modern nuclear warheads with the improved specific characteristics of the impulse-type warhead which requires a smaller quantity of weapons-grade uranium. Taking into account stepped up activity in 1988 at the test range in the Kalahari desert, which before then had actually been shut down, and the fact that this type of nuclear device needs to be tested for efficiency to a greater degree, the SVR experts do not rule out that the South African nuclear specialists could have created a prototype of an impulse nuclear device and made preparations to test it.
On 26 February 1990, the president of the RSA issued an edict on destroying six nuclear warheads, and their dismantling was complete in August 1991. Installations that were used in the military nuclear program were also converted. Work done before joining the NPT and signing the agreement on IAEA safeguards to eliminate the "nuclear trail" prevented the IAEA inspectors from fully and finally closing the "South African file." In many respects this resulted from the fact that the declaration of the fact that nuclear weapons had been created was made in the RSA Parliament on 24 March 1993 in parallel with the destruction of the documentation (technical descriptions, sketches, computer programs, and the like) related to the military nuclear program. These circumstances inevitably cause some experts to question somewhat whether the RSA still has the potential to reproduce the military nuclear program.
In its policy Japan is guided by three well-known principles, "not to produce, not to acquire, and not to have nuclear weapons on its territory." However, there is a certain vagueness on the issue of the possibility of nuclear weapons on board U.S. Navy ships based in Japan. The line of the country's government on refusing to attribute the status of laws to these nonnuclear principles also attracts attention. They are reinforced only by governmental decision, and consequently it is theoretically possible they could be rescinded at a meeting of the cabinet of ministers.
Questions raised in Tokyo at one time on the wisdom of indefinitely extending the Treaty on Nonproliferation of Nuclear Weapons as well as the research documents of official institutions which examined the wisdom of the nuclear choice on a theoretical basis but are now discredited caused some alarm in the international community.
Japan is a participant in the Treaty on Nonproliferation of Nuclear Weapons and has an agreement with the IAEA on full-scale safeguards in the area of nuclear power engineering. The development of Japanese nuclear potential was predetermined by the needs of a highly developed economy and the country's lack of essential energy media.
At this point, there are more than 40 NPP's operating in Japan. They produce more than a 30 percent share of the electricity.
Vigorously developing uranium nuclear power engineering since the start of the 1970's, Japan has set up a repeatedly copied nuclear fuel cycle. Contracts it has concluded provide for obtaining the necessary amount of power generating-quality enriched uranium abroad until the year 2000. A great deal of experience has been accumulated in work in fissionable materials. Large numbers of specialists and high-level scientific cadres have been trained, and they have developed their own highly effective technologies in the nuclear sphere. The basis of the long-term program for developing nuclear power engineering is the concept of a gradual transition in the next decade to a closed nuclear cycle, which ensures the most rational use of nuclear materials and makes the problem of handling radioactive waste less acute. The program's final objective is to switch to using nuclear fuel with a plutonium component (MOX fuel) at all of Japan's NPP's before the year 2030.
The first stage of the program envisions increasing the number of water moderated water cooled [WMWC] reactors to 12 units by the year 2010. Before the plant for producing MOX fuel elements with a yield of about 100 tonnes a year comes on line in the year 2000, they will be supplied from Europe where they will be manufactured from plutonium obtained from processing Japanese spent fuel.
Parallel with this, a program for building fast neutron reactors (FNR) will be carried out; in the future they will be the second main component of nuclear power engineering. The "Monzyu" experimental reactor is planned to be brought to full capacity in 1995, and its basic mission will be to continue to develop these technologies. The program also envisions the first demonstration FNR with an electrical output of 600 megawatts coming on line by the year 2005, and then a second similar reactor.
The processing plant in Tokai as well as European suppliers will be the source of plutonium for the FNR's until the year 2000. A plant in Rokkamo for processing spent fuel from the WMWC reactors which completely satisfies Japan's need for plutonium and eliminates the problem of its delivery from abroad is planned to come on line by the year 2000. Construction of a second processing plant is to be complete by the year 2010 for the purpose of realizing the long-term program on FNR's. Japan's total need for plutonium in the period 1994-2000 comes to about 4 tonnes and will be satisfied by processing capacities in Tokai and deliveries from abroad.
In the period from the year 2000 through 2010, 35-45 tonnes will be needed, but this will already be fully satisfied using the Japanese capacities. According to some experts' estimates, by the year 2010 Japan may have around 80-85 tonnes of plutonium. At this point, of the 5.15 tonnes of plutonium which Japan has on its territory, 3.71 tonnes have been used for research purposes. Thus, there is an excess of more than a tonne of plutonium.
In realizing its nuclear program, even such a highly developed country as Japan has encountered certain problems in the area of control of fissionable materials. In particular, at the Tokai center, which is regularly inspected by the IAEA and is considered a model installation, 70 kilograms of "unaccounted" plutonium of in fact weapons quality was found in May 1994. According to some specialists' estimates, this quantity of plutonium is sufficient to produce at least eight nuclear warheads.
SVR experts believe that at this point Japan does not have nuclear weapons or the means to deliver them. However, we should direct attention to the fact that Japan's problems involving effective control over nuclear materials and the openness of its nuclear program overall are not completely resolved.
In fact, in 1985 the Romanian leadership proposed the challenges of studying the possibility of creating nuclear weapons, and Romanian nuclear scientists mastered the technology for obtaining plutonium and spent nuclear fuel. Inspections of Romanian nuclear facilities conducted by the IAEA in 1990 and 1992 showed that beginning in 1985, Romania was conducting secret experiments on chemical production of weapons-grade plutonium (using the American TRIGA model nuclear reactor) and a small quantity of enriched uranium also of American origin. The work's successful results gave Ceausescu grounds to officially announce in May 1989 that from the technical standpoint, Romania could produce nuclear weapons. In the city of Pitesti, an industrial installation was created with a capacity to produce around 1 kilogram of weapons-grade plutonium a year with the prospect of using it as a warhead in SCUD-type long distance missiles (which Romania produced or bought in North Korea and China).
Before 1990, the chemical combine in the city of Pitesti had produced 585 tonnes of nuclear fuel. In August 1991, Romania bought a license from the Canadian concern AECL for the complete technology to manufacture nuclear fuel. In the future Romania plans to once again process existing reserves.
The Atomic Energy Institute where fuel elements are produced is located in the village of Colibasi, a suburb of the city of Pitesti. At this point, with the United States' and Canada's help, the institute is changing its specialization to work in the area of refining technology for its own production of nuclear fuel for the NPP at the chemical combine in this same city. The main warehouse for radioactive materials is in the county of Bihor. Heavy water is produced in the city of Turnu-Magurele at the chemical combine and in the city of Drobeta Turnu-Severin. There have already been 140 tonnes obtained, and in addition 335 tonnes have been bought in Canada. The Cernavoda NPP is under construction at the present time. The launching of the first phase is planned for the first quarter of 1995.
In 1991 Romania agreed to put its nuclear facilities and nuclear research centers under full IAEA control and in addition agreed to comprehensive inspections of all facilities. Based on the results of the IAEA inspection of Romania's nuclear facilities in April-May 1992, when 470 grams of plutonium were discovered in a secret laboratory of the Atomic Energy Institute in the city of Pitesti, at the session of the IAEA Administrators Council on 17 June 1992, Bucharest was warned that it had to fully curtail the nuclear military program and a number of demands were made:
All these conditions were fulfilled by Bucharest, which a follow-up by an IAEA delegation headed by its general director, G. Bliks, confirmed in April 1994. Based on the results of the follow-up, Romania was allowed to resume the work of its nuclear centers in reorganized form, acquire nuclear fuel for the first reactor of the Cernavoda NPP in Canada and the United States, and resume production of heavy water.
For its part, the IAEA offered a concrete program of assistance to Romania in the nuclear field worth a total of $1.5 million; this included a project for ensuring the safe work of the NPP, consultations, the delivery of certain types of equipment and instruments, allocation of 26 stipends for training abroad, and the conduct in Bucharest of two seminars on nuclear problems. The IAEA also made 156 recommendations on building the Cernavoda NPP which the Romanian side implemented in full.
Romania is a country that has been participating in the NPT since 1970. In 1992, a law controlling the export and import of nuclear, chemical, and biological technologies and materials was adopted and the National Export Control Agency was formed; its members include representatives of the Ministry of Internal Affairs, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, the Ministry of Defense, and the Ministry of Economy and Finance, as well as other departments.
Based on the above, it is possible to draw the well-founded
conclusion that Romanian nuclear power engineering has a
peaceful orientation at this stage.