New Reactors Could Boost Pakistan's Nuclear Arsenal

US hasn't fought massive project amid national turmoil
By Matt Cantor,  Newser User
Posted May 12, 2009 10:18 AM CDT
A teacher takes a class in a tent at a refugee camp in Swabi, in northwest Pakistan, Tuesday, May 12, 2009. Temporary schools have been set up in refugee camps for people fleeing fighting.   (AP Photo/Greg Baker)
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(Newser) – Pakistan is building two of the largest plutonium-producing reactors in the developing world—facilities that experts say could bolster the nuclear arsenal of a country fraught with turmoil. The US hasn’t publicly condemned the project, MSNBC reports, even though it makes Pakistan “the only country rapidly building up its nuclear forces,” says an American official.

“They’re building a capability beyond any reasonable requirement,” says a non-proliferation expert. Those in charge of the reactors’ site are longtime subjects of US concern. A former director met with Osama bin Laden shortly before 9/11 to discuss nuclear-weapons building, US officials say. To complicate matters further, with money tight in Pakistan, US aid is allowing the country to channel funds to nuclear development.