Satellite Images Show Construction of New Nuclear Site in Pakistan

A report posted to 38 North on Thursday estimates that North Korea could be in possession of roughly 20 atomic bombs by the end of the year.

“Its [DPRK] ability to field an ICBM fitted with a nuclear warhead capable of reaching the United States is still a long way off – perhaps 5 to 10 years, but likely doable if the program is unconstrained,” the report reads.

But as the global community reacts to Pyongyang, an analysis from IHS Jane’s reveals that Pakistan may also be increasing its nuclear stockpiles, building a new uranium enrichment complex.

The area of interest is approximately 1.2 hectares and is located within the secure area of the Khan Research Laboratories (KRL), in the southwestern part of the complex,” the analysis states.

“Roughly rectangular in shape and approximately 140 x 80 meters, the new structure is surrounded by scrubland and trees that provide an additional measure of security on the ground,” IHS Jane reports.

The report is based on satellite surveillance of the site, located in the town of Kahuta, roughly 30 kilometers east of Islamabad.

“It is sited within an established centrifuge facility, has strong security and shows some of the structural features of a possible new uranium enrichment facility. This makes it a strong candidate for a new centrifuge facility,”said Karl Dewey, an analyst with IHS Jane’s, according to the Indian Express.

If true, this development could cause problems for Pakistan’s membership in the Nuclear Suppliers Group.

It is difficult to see how these actions are consistent with the principles of the Nuclear Suppliers Group, a group of responsible nuclear exporters which Pakistan is seeking to join,” Ian Stewart, head of Project Alpha at King’s College London, told the Indian Express.

Pakistan conducted its first nuclear test in 1998 and is believed to be in possession of roughly 120 nuclear weapons. The country relies on three commercial nuclear power plants and plans to construct 32 additional plants by 2050.

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