Despite Taliban turmoil, Pakistan expands nuke plants

– For more perspective on this story, go back and read this earlier piece I published:

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WASHINGTON — Pakistan is expanding its nuclear weapons program even as Islamic extremists in northwest Pakistan advance in the direction of several highly sensitive nuclear-related sites, U.S. officials and other experts said this week.

Pakistan’s government is completing two new nuclear reactors to produce plutonium for weapons that would be smaller, lighter and more efficient than the 60-odd highly enriched uranium-fueled warheads that Pakistan is now thought to possess, the officials and experts said.

“In the current climate, with Pakistan’s leadership under duress from daily acts of violence by insurgent Taliban forces and organized political opposition, the security of any nuclear material produced in these reactors is in question,” said an April 23 report by the Institute for Science and International Security.

Some of the officials and experts are more worried that Islamic radicals or sympathizers inside Pakistan’s military might get their hands on radioactive material that could be used to make a crude dirty bomb than they are about a theft of one of the heavily guarded weapons themselves.

More…

– Research thanks to Alan T.

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