CBRNE & EOD Defence

India increases its uranium enrichment programme

20 June 2014

The removal of various structures related to construction support activities in February 2014 suggests that facility expansion is nearing completion. (PLEIADES © CNES 2014, Distribution Astrium Services / Spot Image / IHS)

Using commercial satellite imagery, IHS Jane’s experts have identified a possible new uranium hexafluoride plant at the Indian Rare Metals Plant (IRMP) near Mysore. This will support new centrifuges that will substantially expand India’s uranium enrichment capacity, most likely to facilitate the construction of an increased number of naval reactors to expand the country’s nuclear submarine fleet, but potentially also to support the development of thermonuclear weapons. IHS Jane’s experts assess that the new uranium enrichment facility could become operational by mid- to late-2015. IHS consultant on Indian affairs, Brian Cloughley, said “Although denied by those concerned, there is a nuclear arms race in all but name taking place in Asia”.

Mysore’s original centrifuge plant was constructed in 1992, although in 2010 site clearance for a new, even larger, suspected centrifuge hall began. It is this new facility that could soon be operational. India is generally vocal in publicising its defence industry successes, but has revealed little about operations at Mysore, possibly to reduce attention to its nuclear trade agreements with the US.

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