THE CHINESE COMMUNIST ATOMIC ENERGY PROGRAM

Created: 12/13/1960

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NATIONAL INTELLIGENCE ESTIMATE

THE CHINESE

ATOMIC ENERGY

SUMMARY AND

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THE CHINESE COMMUNIST ATOMIC ENERGY PROGRAM

THE PROBLEM

To determine the current status and the probable future course of the Chinese Communist atomic energy prolan, to

SUMMARY AND CONClUSlONS

ommunist China is etvergetiesj'yher native capabilities In the field of btomlc energy. Since the early MO, she has beenoncerted enort to develop the corps of scientists and technicians and establish the research faculties essentia) to the cirploltation of nuclear energy. Theeffort has progressed steadily5 With the benefitubstantial amount of Soviet aid. This assistance has beenby the Chinese CornmunlsU tUformal arrangement* under which they apparently haveonsld-erahlc degree of autonomy. However, wethat the Soviets have provided this aideliberate pace, hoping to postpone the attainment of native Chinese nuclear weapons capability as long as possible.

ORGANIZATION

ttiert are Indication* that the control of the Chinese Communist military atomicprogram Is currently vested in theMinistry of Machine Building. Theof this ministry have never been made known, unlike other Chinese ministries, and Its minister Uu Chich, Is known to haveInterests in the Chinese Communist atomic energy prog ram. Wc believe thatnlstry may be patterned after the Soviet Ministry of Medium Machine Building. The peaceful uses aspects of the program,nuclear research, training, and irotope applications, are largely under the control of the Scientific and Texhaotogicalof the State Council, with thef Atomic Energy of the Academy of Science* as the mo*', prominent research ment.

TECKNKAI CA-ABrliTieS

he Chinese Communists havemall but highly competent cadre of Western-trained Chinese nuclear specialists Their nuclear research effort has expended rapidly since the earlyand more than twenty nuclear research facilities have been eatab-liihed at institutes and universities. Into the Soviet-supplied research reactor and cyclotron, thereariety ofand other accelerators, most of which are of Chinese manufacture. The Chinese have access, through the Joint Institute for Huelew Research, to the Urge Soviet accelera ton a: Oubna China's share of the financial coats cf the institute ishare exceeded only by that of the Soviet Union. We believe that the widespread Chineseand research effort to coordinated to the nerds of the military atomic energy program. Hie Chinese Communists are now capable of comprehending and exploiting the large body or open scientific literature in the nuclear sciences. However, the present shortage of trained scientists and engineers will probably persist throughout the period of this estl-

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This shortage would hamper Chinese efforts to design, construct, and operatefor the production of fissionableand would be particulail/ serious, should the Soviets decide lo reduce ortheir technical aid

lrOOOCTION

V The espied tat ion of native uraniumhas been underway, with Sovietsince IPSO Overeposits arc now being worked, and we believe that oreranium metal equivalent of several hundred tons la being mined annually and retained In Chlpa

URANIUM METAL

Chinese Communists havethe processing of uranium ores

FJSSIONABIE MATERIAIS

Chinese development of uranium resources and their probable construction of oreand uranium metal plantswould Imply an Intended use for the uranium In plutonium production. Although uraniumot required for t'-2the first stages of the process could also supply feed foreparation.

We estimateirst Chinesereactor could attain critlcallty innd thi first plutonium might become available lateince there Is noevidence for the date of the uranium plant startup, and since the construction of reactor and chemical separation facilities has not been directly established, the actual start of plutonium production couldear earlier or several yean later.

Is possiblelant isconstruction. Considering theof the developmental work andsupport required fortructiongaseous diffusion plant, how.ver. It Isthat the Chinesearlier than2 1

NUCIEAR WEAPONS

the basis of all available evidence,believe that the most probable datethe Chinese Communists coulda first nuclear device is sometimethough tt might be as lateearlyepending upon theof Soviet assistance.'If thefissionable materials, and assist Inand fabricationuclearChinese coulduclearin China at almost any time In thefuture. On the other hand. Ifa lessening of Soviet assistance lnfieldesult of currentprogress would be

the explosionucleargive the Chinese Communistspropaganda rewards, they would almost

'TheAaaUUnl Chief of Naval Operation*Department of the Navy, believesform* lion on the nature and eatenl ofto Communists yetfor

a reliable eeUmate of Ihe year In which the Chi-neae CocixinUU coulduclear device. He considers, however, that certain ba*lc tnior-maUoti ehould have become available to us by this timehe Chine.ie Communlit* were pro-greulrg toward detonaUonomnatlratly produced nuclear device very much before the Bnal stage* of this Ave year esUmau. In the abirol what he coeuoders to be any evidence pertaining to or tudtcaUxe of tbe production ofmaterials to Cooimuniit China and In the tight of the relatively elementary state of hnowo nuclear research faculties, be Is unable to accept the time nchedute Tor nuclear weapons as given In this paper.

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certainly proceed to create an operationalcapability as quickly tJ feasible.It lout two years would probably be required after the. explosionuclear device tomall number of elementary weapons.

NUClEAJt POWE*

ased on known Chinese Cornra jnisltoclear power, we believe that production readers would be given precedence over reactors designed foe nuclear power. Further, we do not be line that the Chinese would complicate lhe oVsign of their first production reactors to an effort to extract by-product power. We estimate that thewUI not cunitnjct nuclear powerIn0 IMS period.

SOVIET ASSISTANCE

oviet assistance tun been an Important factor In the ChLiasc atomic energy program.

Under an agreement for. the Soviets have provided to theesearch reactor, cyclotron, technical assistance andino-Sovfet Scientific and Technical Agreement for theas concludedther known Soviet aid has been largelywith uranium prospecting. We have no firm evidence of Soviet assistance Inor constructing fissionable materials production facilities or in supplying theor equipment needed for such

here Is some evidence that Soviet aid may have been curtaOcd, based on reportseneral withdrawal of Sovietfrom China took place inuch diminution of aid in the Chineseatomic energy program wouldretard China's progress Inuclear power.

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