PROLIFERATION DIGEST; NOVEMBER 1996

Created: 11/30/1996

OCR scan of the original document, errors are possible

Possible Future Activities al China's Nuclear Test

to Pakistan and Iran. Chinese Government authorities are taking steps to more closely monitor ail types of nuclear-related transfers and assistance Senior political leaden probably will corftnuc to decide on nu]or nuclear deals that come to their attention, irrespective of the new measures, but the steps mayew determination to address significant administrative shortcomings inort-control system.

irvinga moratorium on nuclear (eMing, wc expect that it will continue to conduct at least some test-site activitiesonitor the condition of its nuclear stockpile. If China proceeds with earlier plans to conduct "simulated underground nuclearhich maymall nuclear yield, Russlun-supplkd diagnostics equipment would help (he Chinese collect more valuable data. Tests with yields on the orderons would not be detected seismictlly. even if there were no attempt at evasion. Tests with yields of several kilotons would also be undetectable ir conducted in large cavities

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wake of repealed US protests over China 'i nuclear assurance to Pakistan and Inn. Chinese Grs-emmerU authorities are taking steps to more closely monitor all types of nuclear-related transfers and assistance. Senior political leaders probably willlo decide on major nuclear deals, irrespective of the new measures, but the steps mayew determination to address significant administrative shortcomings in China's export-control system. Beijing's current weak legal framework, unclear lines of authority, and inadequate outrrach to exporters could allow lower-profile transfers to proceed without the knowledge of Beijing's senior leadership

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followed IAEA guidelines in placing equipment and material under safeguards. I

Although the new measures may not affecton major nuclearore visible role by the Foreign Ministry and Stale Council in reviewing all applications to export nuclear items couldew determination to address significantshortcomings in China's export control system. Various reports indicate that China's export-conliolincludes (be China Atomic Energy Authority (CAEA) and the International Cooperation Bureauhas been only marginally effective in monitoring nuclear-related transfers that do not reach (he auention of Beijing's seniorInAEA Vice Chairman Chen Zhaoboefense attache that China has very strict rules on the sale of prohibited nuclear material and that,ice chairman, he must clear; "sensitive material,"

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China National Nuclear Corporation

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Military Commission

China's Nuckar Weapon* Compkt

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National Nuclear Safely Administration

China Atomic Enwgy Authority (CAEA)

Nationaluclear Maaafal Control

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power plants. Some transfers may occur without knowledge of CNNCor its subordinate. CAEA, letBeijing's senior leadership:

Nuclear Industry In Plus |

Changes within the nuclear industry have beenChina's efforts to develop workablemechanisms. As the industry has shifted toward

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hc cummers and allows them to claim that China is

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bureaucracies involved in nuclear-related

the core of China's murky oversight bureaucracy is the leadership's continuing

Beijing's accession to themove fully into the international nuclear export -control regime by joining the NPT-rctated Zangger Committee or the Nuclear Suppliers Group:*

not participating in these regimes, China has avoided the requirement toegalto control its incrcasmg number of dual-use exports of nuclear-related technology.

uncommitted status also provides its leaders with maximum flexibility in choosing their nuclear

' The NSOnave iwo parti: the finl -auMUhei control!icxxUIlrnuciear-ttie iletm toA it tunea'y IdMOCal w /i'ist! lur. it* Hcond pan.n Manh itfM.ited Qual-uM items. aaaBM

Tna's nuclear-weapons-related entitles, particularly CAEP. also are facing cutbacks and increasingly are turning to sales of civilian products

CAEP's gross civilian-related output valueillion yuanesulting in profits of40yuan (approximately SS million US dollars) before taxes, according to Chinese open-source

One CARP-subordinate institute had half its staff reassigned to commercialnow account forercent of itsof shrinking budgets. |

Several obstacles hinder the development of China's nuclear oversight and export controls, but change in

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CNNC Nuclear Trading Firms^

Chin* Nuclear Energy Industry Corporation

ntil the. CNEIC wasfor marketing almost all of China jr nuclear exports, including raw materials such as naturaland uranium concentrate. The firm Is now involved in most of China's overseas nuclear projects and also procures nuclear-related technologies for China's nuclear weapons complex, thus maintaining ties to both the civilian and military sectors of Chinas nuclear industry.NEIC expanded Usto nonnuclear items and has incorporated at least two OS-based subsidiaries

Rainbow International Corporallon

(CRICX This entity previously known as the China Rainbow Developmenta jointbetween CNNC and the China Nonfermus Metals Corporation createdtonsulting firm dust negotiates the provision of foreign projects on behalf of numerous Chinese organizations, not all. which are nuclear related.

or all of the following areas would indicate that Beijing is committed to effective monitoring of nuclear technology exports:

Legal framework. China's export-control system would benefitegal framework thai clarified its export regulations and provided authority to its enforcement bureaucracy. SinceAEA representatives have claimed to USofficers that they are drafting national kgisla-rion on nuclear exports. Should the Chinese

Covemment opt for more effectivee would expect to see China move forward with CAEA's draft legislation.

Lines of authority. China's system would benefit from formalized communication between various senior Chinese officials on the Stale Council and Central Military Commission and representatives from such key nuclear-related entities as CNNC and CAEP

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of interest. Effective controls depend on minimizing the "conflict-of-interest" situations that exist in China's export-control system. The multiple roles played by Chinese nuclearsimuhancoosly trading firms and regulatoryquestions about objectivity in providing oversight. The President of CNNC, for example, serves as one of the deputy directors on the State Council Leading Group for Nuclear Powerhich contributes lo decisionmaking on major nuclear exports- Zhou Yuanquan, head of ICB, Is also the president of CNEIC.

Outreach programs touclear industry. Effective implementation of the national nuclear export controls that CAEA is drafting depends on

Beijing's commitment to educating export firms about new laws.

Willingness to accept additional internationalIn meetings with US diplomatic officialshinese nuclear industry officials showed interest but expressed no firm commitment to join the Nuclear Suppliers Group or Zangger Committee.

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Although China isoratorium on nuclear testing, we eipect that it will continue to conduct at least some test-site activities to monitor the condition of its nuclear stockpile. China's moratorium may not restrict test-site activities to the same degree asest ban irraty. If China proceeds with earlier plans to conduct "simulated underground nuclear tests.which maymall nuclear yield Russian-supplied diagnostics equipment would help thecollect more valuable data Data from such tests could allow China to monitor iu current weapons stockpile. If the yields are as highons or more. China also may be able to explore new warhead design concepts, but China probably would consider full-yieldequirement beforeew weapon into the stockpile. Tests with yields on the orderons woidd not be detected seism* even if there were no attempt at evasion.

China hat continued to piepare for future activities at the Lop Nur nuclear test site throughout thefor the CTBT:

There are some indications that China may stillwith previously planned activities in spite of Ihe current moratorium. China's definition ofmight not rule out eaperimenu with very low yields:

Future MUxiuns Fur the top Nur Test Site (u)

Chinese treaty negotiators in Geneva, expressingsimilar to those of otherclearhave stated that China will use its nuclear test site to evaluate the safety and reliability of its nuclear weapons. China did not identify the activities that would be permitted under its moratorium on nuclear testing, but we assume that the moratorium will allow China's nuclear weapons community a: least as much freedom to define "penrtitted activities"est bast treaty. If nuclear tests or experiments are conducted at yields lower than our seismic detection threshold, imagery and other observable* alone would not; vide conclusive evidenceuclear test.1

Erihanced Test-Diagnostics Capabilities J

Over theears. Russia has exported to China modeling codes, scientific data on howreact to Ihe pressures and temperatures associated

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Low-Yield Nuclear Tests and Zero-Yield Experiments I

cmttdariety of goats, depending on the size of the nuclear releases of it would allow under itsy or all of the following activities could be conducted whkoul seismic detection:

Hjdrodynamk tests, which are conducted without Plutonium or weapons-grade uranium, are used to test high-explosive implosion systems withouta nuclear yield. The fissile material is removed from the pit of the warhead and replacedimulator, such as natural uranium, depleted uranium, or some other dense i

Subcriacal tests use fissile materials but are designed not toelf-sustaining nuclear chain reaction. Thus, there is almost no nuclear release. Such tests provide data on the properties of metals (such asptuiomum) under conditions of high temperature and pressure.

Hydronuclear tests achieve critical mass, but aie designed so that the nuclear yield ts much smaller than the high-explosive yield (on the onier of

pounds oruch tests might validate safety upgrades to proven designs, but they could not validate fundmenlally new or drasticallydesigns.

Subkiloton nuclear tests may or may not fall within the Chinese definition ofuch tests could be used to both validate warheadand explore new weapons designs. Yields upew hundred tons would not be detected seismically, even if there is no attempt at evasion. Some tests in this category might be conductedeusable facdUy.

Yields up lo several kilotons would allow China to test most primaries at full yield. Such tests might be concealed by large underground cavities, which could reduce the seismic signal below our detection threshold Such tests would be too powerfuleusable facility, but could be conducted in existing underground ra vities.

withnuclear explosion, and diajmou.es equipment, such as high-speed oscilloscopes, that will enable China to collect more valuable data (torn any future tests or experiments. The equipment could be used fix collecting data from full-scale nuclear tests, but could also be used for simulation expenments that produce little or no nuclear yield:

The materiel acquired from Russia, which probablyore advanced than Chinese equipment, could provide more detailed information needed for

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maintaining China's current weapons stockpileest moratorium. Nonetheless, the enhancedcapa hi li rites probably could not significant I' advance new warhead design and development. I

Most weapon states have acknowledged that good diagnostics data from hydronuclearyields on the order of pounds orto monitor an aging nuclear weapons stockpile with the aid of computerut only ifdata from full-scale testing of the weaponsalready exist for comparison:

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and computer codes to monitor its current weapons 'hich is based on oldere safety UDtnades to nmwni

China may have enough benchmark data from past full-scale testing to be able to use hydronuclear tests computer codes to monitorrr*nr

unvalidax some safety upgrades to proven designs.

1 Computer codas can simulate the essential feanaiu of weapon dew in and the pBenoeaena aasccialed wiUi exptoUona. but urnuU-boni do not yet provide the confidence of actual letting. Cbina. moreover, curtently has only limited ciipabttinei In computer mod-

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' HydiEeixlciJ teats itvM be uxd in *alulair some safety upgrades k> proven designs, but testson ykMs orrovide more connd.-nce.BIH

Given the increased sophistication of China's latest test series, however, and the small number of teats it has conducted to prepareest ban treaty, it ll doubtful that China has enough benchmark data to enable it to use hydronuclear tests and computer codes alone to monitor weapons under development. which would be based on the devices tested most recently. In the absence of full-scale testing. China almost certainly will continue to pursue improved computer simulation capabilities. The Chinese also have the option of rebuilding certain warhcadsvs-tems before their agingV|M

Even with the new diagnostics capabiliies. tests with yields on the orderons or more would beto explore new warhead design concepts. China, moreover, probably would consider full-yieldequirement at some point beforeeapon based on an untested design into theonly to acquire benchmark data for future moniuii BJJJJ

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