Year 1998

Non Weapons-Grade Plutonium for India's Tests

Nature, 24 September 1998 (title by WISE-Paris)

[Posted 11/12/1998]

"India Opens Its Third Reprocessing Plant "

[New Delhi] India's third and largest plutonium reprocessing plant, at Kalpakkam in Tamil Nadu state, was officially inaugurated [during the 14-20 September 1998 week] by the Prime Minister, Atal Behari Vajpayee, who promised the scientists "every help from the Government to realise the national mission of nuclear technology". The plant will be able to handle 100 tonnes of spent nuclear fuel a year, separating out the plutonium which India says will be used in fast-breeder reactors to generate electricity.

"The two other reprocessing plants are at Mumbai and about 150 km north of there at Tarapur. While the Mumbai plant has been extracting weapons-grade plutonium from spent research-reactor fuel since 1964, the 10-year old Tarapur plant has been reprocessing fuel discharged from power reactors. Two of the five devices tested by India in May this year are believed to have used plutonium that was not classified as weapons grade" [emphasis by WISE-Paris].

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