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China’s Fissile Material Production and Stockpile

IPFM 12th Jan 2018, IPFM’s new research report “China’s Fissile Material Production and
Stockpile” (PDF copy) by Hui Zhang uses information from newly available
Chinese public sources to provide a more detailed and documented
reconstruction of China’s production of highly enriched uranium (HEU) and
plutonium for nuclear weapons.

The report provides new evidence to constrain the operating histories for China’s Lanzhou and Heping gaseous
diffusion enrichment plants. Lanzhou stopped HEU production for weapons in 1980 and shifted to making low enriched uranium (LEU) for civilian power reactors and possibly for naval reactors. It was shut down on 31 December
2000 and in 2017 was demolished.

The Heping plant may still be operating but not producing HEU for weapons. China also has centrifuge enrichment
plants but they are believed not to produce HEU for weapons. The new report also offers new details on the operational experience of the Jiuquan and Guangyuan weapon plutonium production reactors. China also used these
reactors to produce tritium for weapons. The reactors were closed in the 1980s and have been undergoing decommissioning.

January 16, 2018 - Posted by | China, weapons and war

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