PAKISTAN: A SAFEGUARDS EXEMPTION AS A BACKDOOR TO REPROCESSING

Created: 5/20/1983

OCR scan of the original document, errors are possible

DIRECTORATE Or INTELLIGENCE

3

PAKISTANI AFEGUARDS EXEMPTI TO REPROCESSING?

Summary

Pakistan has made preparations to request permission from the International Atomic Energy Agency tomall quantlt of spent nuclear fuel from the Karachi power react;

saleguards agreement.

mag trg to use the exempt Ion

(which would allow It to accumulate up' to one kilogram of flaetl material)eans to initiate separation of plutonlum at theaba reprocessing plant for use In nuclear wai

tbe exemption, Paklmtan will face a

choice whan the Hew Labs plant ia completed next gear between proceeding with Its nuclear weapons program, which would than require rlolatlon of aafaguarda to obtain spent fuel for re-ptoceealngt or maintaining the security relationship with the United States and delaging Its weapons program until another source of flaalla material was arailable.

A Pakistani requestafeguards exemption would significantly heighten international suspicions that Pakistan vas acquiring plutonium for nuclear'weapons, increase Indian anxieties, andbts about the effectiveness of the IAEA safeguards susten.

Zla's Touqh Choice

tnat tney must acquir eluded that their exi promise of US militar Pakistan against Zndi to the United States ation of longstanding devices and to bring facilities capableweapons in Pakistan, the Kahuta enrichment

touclear weapons because they havemilitary capabilities, includingquipment, will not adequately protect an aggression* Since presidentisit ine have detected continu-

efforts to acquire components for nuclear into successful operation the only two producing fissile material for nuclear the PINSTECH-New Labs reprocessing plant and tO -

3uyina Timeafeguards Exemption

akistan has

explored the possibilities for acquiring small quantities of fissile material from spent fuel legally obtained from the Karachi power reactor under an exemption clause in Islamabad's safeguards agreement with the IAEA. The Pakistani leadership may believe that, as long as the safeguards agreement la not violated, it can bring the New Labs reprocessinq plant through its shakedown period b" usincr spent fuel from the Karach reactor

The exemption clause would permit Pakistan to test its reprocessing plantuantity of spent nuclear fuel removed from the Karachi reactor which, when reprocessed, would yield up to one Kilogram of plutonlum for the purposes of -processing, reprocessing, research, or development." This provision, which is contained in the TAEA document that establishes generalfor safeguards in countries that have not signed the Nuclear Non-Proiiferation Treaty, was intended to allow states to conduct limited tests and experiments, such as examining the performance of reactor fuel, that did not involve enoughmaterial touclear weapon. Many countries have used this exemption for such legitimate purposes. The IAEA would not require that Pakistan state the purpose of its exemption request, and according to officials in the IAEA Secretariat, the IAEA woulo be legally obligated to approve at least an initial Pakistani request*

Pakistani requestafeguards exemption. Safeguards inspectors at the Karachi reactor would insist on measuring the actual plutonium content of the- spent fuel to be exempted and taking the highest possible estimate of its plutoniu/content in order to limit the quantity available to Pakistan.

might attempt convert.anserial exemption." under a

return to safeguards one kilogram zlaim the right toew Karachi reactor* in this manner

could acquire momura unaer safeguards and later abrogate the material for nuclear

the Legal Department is still studying the serial exemption issue, but it would bo likely to reject such Pakistanihe United States and the Soviet Union objected strongly. |

aafequards to

December Pakistan requestxemptionerial exemption Pakistan would of separated plutonium and then quantity of spent fuel fromislamabad*

We believe that Pakistan may have settled its longstanding dispute with the IAEA over the adequacy of safeguard? at the Karachi reactor partly to lessen the adverse international reaction to an exemption request. Islamabad can point to its new safeguards compliance as evidence of its peaceful nuclear intent and observance of international obligations. Settlement of the safeguards dispute alsoiplomatic pretext that the United States or otherjjj^vg used to oppose any Pakistani exemption request*

Advantages as Seen by Pakistan

it is technically prepared to initiate

the Pakistani leadership may ,r.v.^'< ies in resortingafeguards exemption

reprocessing.

Islamabad believes that the United States woulcr terminate the security relationship only over unsafeguarded reprocessing or actual production and testinguclear

is consistent with Pakistan's scrupulously

weapon. elief

legalistic approach in its recent public statements on nuclear energy and its negotiations over safeguards at the Karachi reactor with the IAEA.

By acting open'v, Iflamabad might also hope to reinforce its claim* ceful nuclear intent. equest to removeew spent fuel bundles- less than the full amount allowed by the exemption, would be presented as proof to the world that legitimate scientific pursuits were indeed the objective- Pakistani diplomats at the IAEA would probably compare the fuel removal with similar actions taken by countries with advanced nuclear programs.

Pakistan may see the exemption request as buying time to complete operational testing of its reprocessing facility. The unfavorable report issued by the Belgonuclaire technical team could make Islamabad even more disposed to testing its reprocessing plantbefore initiating unsafeguarded reprocessing.

Islamabad may also calculate that legal reprocessing under the exemption clause could provide limited covet for diverting larger quantities of spent fuel to New Labs, Because the plutonium content of spent nuclear fuel varies widely, depending on the length ofarticular bundle has beeneactor, the IAEA might

Disadvantages of Other Options

We believe that the disadvantages of Pakistan's other options for obtaining fissile material for nuclear weaponsmake reprocessing spent fuel under the exemption clause attractive In the short run. There are serious problems with attempts to:

Divert spent fuel clandestinely from the Karachi reactor.Spent fuel removed in violation of safeguards would provide the most certain and largest source of plutonium. Zia, however, is probably persuaded that the United States would terminate the security relationship if lt became aware ofiolation, now more likely because of the stricter safeguards at the reactor.

Obti^jiwearomt

plant.we

etliatcorjTTmTTn

production of highly enriched uranium required for nuclear weapons at the Kahuta enrichment plant) at the earliest.

" Obtainnusable material from another country. We believe that China, which has provided sorre assistance to the Pakistani nuclear program, is the only possiblesource of weapons-usable material or spent fuel for processing. As far as we know, however, China has never given Pakistan such material and it is an unlikely future source. In our view, Beijing will not raise the level of itsnow probably limited primarily to technicalof Its concern that this would further adversely affect nuclear energy cooperationestern countries and Beljijialp efforts to improve relations with New Delhi.

Original document.

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