Fissile Materials-India

Discussion in 'Strategic Forces' started by LETHALFORCE, May 21, 2012.


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    Feb 16, 2009
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    India - International Panel on Fissile Materials

    Countries: India

    India is a nuclear weapon state outside of the Non-Proliferation Treaty. Its nuclear arsenal is estimated to include 60-80 warheads, of which about 50 are believed to be operationally deployed. India is actively building up its nuclear forces, so these numbers are expected to grow in the coming years.

    India's stockpile of fissile materials is estimated to include the equivalent of 0.22-0.56 tonnes of 90% HEU, 0.5±0.15 tonnes of weapon-grade plutonium, and 3.5±0.5 tonnes of reactor-grade plutonium.

    India continues to produce fissile materials for weapons. It operates a plutonium production reactor, Dhruva, and a uranium enrichment facility that are not subject to IAEA safeguards.

    Highly-enriched uranium
    India's uranium enrichment program is believed to be oriented primarily toward production of HEU for the nuclear submarine program. A pilot-scale enrichment plant in the Bhabha Atomic Research Center (BARC) was reported to begin operations in 1985. A larger centrifuge plant, officially known as the Rare Materials Project, reportedly has been operating at Rattehalli in southern India since 1990. The Rattehalli plant is being expanded. Also, India is planning a

    The total amount of HEU produced by India's enrichment program is estimated to be 0.2-0.5 tonnes of U-235 in HEU with an enrichment level of 30-45%, which corresponds to 0.22-0.56 tonnes of 90% HEU equivalent. Some of this uranium has been used to manufacture fuel for naval and research reactors.

    Military plutonium
    India’s weapon-grade plutonium has been produced in two reactors: the 40 MWt CIRUS and the 100 MWt Dhruva, both located in the Bhabha Atomic Research Centre (BARC) complex near Mumbai. CIRUS is a heavy-water-moderated, light-water-cooled reactor fueled with natural-uranium. CIRUS became critical in 1961 and fully operational in 1963. Is was shut down on December 31st, 2010. Dhruva was modeled after CIRUS, but uses heavy water as the coolant as well as the moderator. It was commissioned in 1985, but reportedly had not begun stable operations until 1988. India reportedly has plans to build a new 100 MWt reactor in Vizag, Andhra Pradesh.

    The total amount of weapon-grade plutonium produced by India is estimated to be 0.5±0.15 tonnes. About 0.09 tons may have been consumed in nuclear weapons tests and in the first core of the Fast Breeder Test Reactor.

    Civilian plutonium
    India’s current reactor-grade plutonium stockpile, separated from the spent fuel discharged by unsafeguarded heavy-water power reactors, is estimated to be 3.5±0.5 tons. A total of about 9 tons of plutonium may have been produced in unsafeguarded spent fuel as of 2010. About 2 tons of plutonium may have been fabricated into fuel for the Fast Breeder Test Reactor and for the first core of the 500 MWe Prototype Fast Breeder Reactor which is under construction.

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