WASHINGTON, Jan. 18 (UPI) -- Pakistan is expanding its reactor facilities giving it increased capabilities to make nuclear weapons, a U.S. watchdog group said Thursday.
The Institute for Science and International Security said its conclusion was based on commercial satellite imagery it had received from DigitalGlobe and GeoEye of the Chashma nuclear industrial park in Pakistan.
"An image of the site from late 2006 shows continued construction of the Chasnupp-2 reactor situated next to the currently operating Chasnupp-1 reactor. In addition to the two reactors, the imagery depicts what could be the Kundian fuel fabrication facility, and in the southwest corner of the site what may be the widely discussed Chashma reprocessing facility," the group said in a statement.
"The most likely structure for housing the main reprocessing operations is a large, tall building with an adjacent stack. It is not yet clear whether this facility at Chashma is operational. However, the nature and rate of the construction suggests that the facility may soon start operations, if it has not done so already," ISIS said.
ISIS said the data "raises the question of whether Pakistan may intend to bring on line a new reprocessing facility capable of separating weapons-grade plutonium out of spent reactor fuel."
"Such a capability, combined with Pakistan's ability to make large quantities of highly enriched uranium (HEU) for nuclear weapons, would aid Pakistan in developing thermonuclear weapons as well as increasing the size of its nuclear arsenal," the group said.
Isis urged the U.S. and other major governments to negotiate as quickly as possible "a verifiable and universal Fissile Material Cutoff Treaty."
"An FMCT would help put a cap on the Pakistani and Indian nuclear arsenals," the group said.