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Thread: China Pakistan nuclear reactor deal

  1. #1
    Turbanator Senior Contributor Double Edge's Avatar
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    China Pakistan nuclear reactor deal

    Reading about this deal over the past few months for an extra two reactors and thought it was concluded. But other articles made me wonder whether China needs to get a waiver from the NSG first, before they go ahead. This report seems to indicate the Chinese don't think so.

    China now appears positioned to argue that the two new units at Chashma were part of an agreement made before it joined the NSG in 2004, and so do not need another waiver.
    The US was opposed to the deal so the issue was never brought up when the NSG met in July this year.

    Does the IAEA's approval for these reactors negate the requirement for a waiver ? China claims they were approved but the IAEA won't comment

    SO what exactly is the status of this deal

    No One is Laughing Now – China and Pakistan's Nuclear Cooperation
    Last edited by Double Edge; 22 Oct 10, at 22:55.

  2. #2
    Officer of Engineers
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    This is extremely hard to figure out. There is no language in the NSG that will punish China for doing business with Pakistan. Just as Russia once refueled an Indian reactor against the wishes of the NSG but only once. The thing is that Russia relies on the NSG trade also so while a one time event may not hurt, ie supplying India, continued service would deny the very nuclear trade that she relies on.

    In theory, the Chinese can flaunt the NSG and the NSG can do nothing about it but member countries can stop the nuclear trade with China and that would hurt China.

    The NSG as far as individual members are concerned are powerful influences. For example, despite the fact that India got a blanket waiver, no one offerred and neither did India wants to approach uranium enrichment technologies. Russia tried to sign such a trade deal, ie to offer everything under the sun but without offering an actual enrichment plant nor the technology, all Russia stated that India would have access to such. India did not accept. Don't know the exact reasons but the rest of the NSG does not look kindly on enrichment technology trade.

  3. #3
    Turbanator Senior Contributor Double Edge's Avatar
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    Trying to think through the scenarios and came up blank

    - China goes ahead, against NSG approval, NPT threathened, situation unknown
    - China quits the NPT, situation unknown
    - China quits the NSG, situation unknown

    All three of these is not good news for anyone but Pakistan. So that should imply China will not go ahead, but the press says they announced they will, even reports saying there is construction ongoing. Here is a Google grab earlier in the year from another forum of the Chashma complex showing construction for the two new reactors taking place earlier in the year.

    Quote Originally Posted by Officer of Engineers View Post
    This is extremely hard to figure out.
    Right, this is another one of those trying incidents with China. There was an Indian report earlier where India claims there is no mention of further reactors in the contract when the first two were built so the grandfathering reason isn't valid, but this implies India saw the contract between China & Pakistan which i'm not sure of. Either way even if it was it implies that a contract between China & Pakistan supercedes the treaties China has already signed with others which cannot be true.

    Quote Originally Posted by Officer of Engineers View Post
    There is no language in the NSG that will punish China for doing business with Pakistan. Just as Russia once refueled an Indian reactor against the wishes of the NSG but only once. The thing is that Russia relies on the NSG trade also so while a one time event may not hurt, ie supplying India, continued service would deny the very nuclear trade that she relies on.

    In theory, the Chinese can flaunt the NSG and the NSG can do nothing about it but member countries can stop the nuclear trade with China and that would hurt China.
    ok

    Quote Originally Posted by Officer of Engineers View Post
    The NSG as far as individual members are concerned are powerful influences. For example, despite the fact that India got a blanket waiver, no one offerred and neither did India wants to approach uranium enrichment technologies. Russia tried to sign such a trade deal, ie to offer everything under the sun but without offering an actual enrichment plant nor the technology, all Russia stated that India would have access to such. India did not accept. Don't know the exact reasons but the rest of the NSG does not look kindly on enrichment technology trade.
    This answer was unexpected because
    - there is a deal signed with the US
    - the NSG gave India a waiver
    - the IAEA is on board

    If the NSG is already providing the fuel then why does the question of enrichment arise ? I'm assuming the fuel they provide is already in an enriched form, at least to the low level required to run in a reactor.

    I thought India's situation was more clear but your answer makes me doubt that too
    Last edited by Double Edge; 23 Oct 10, at 05:39.

  4. #4
    Officer of Engineers
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    Quote Originally Posted by Double Edge View Post
    I thought India's situation was more clear but your answer makes me doubt that too
    One of the promises by both France and Russia in order for India to get the waiver was that they had no intentions to offer enrichment technologies ... and no one actually did. All Russia did was to ask India to sign a treaty with Russia in order to grandfather the waiver just in case the NSG clamp downs on what is and what is not to be traded with non-NSG members.

  5. #5
    Officer of Engineers
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    Oh, in order to answer your last point. India already has enrichment technologies ... just not on par with the rest of teh NSG.

  6. #6
    Military Professional Deltacamelately's Avatar
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    India still is more interested in the FBR project. Don't know how far things will materialise.
    And on the sixth day, God created the Field Artillery...

  7. #7
    Officer of Engineers
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    Quote Originally Posted by Deltacamelately View Post
    India still is more interested in the FBR project. Don't know how far things will materialise.
    That may be but what is the reason why Indian refuses to grandfather the waiver with her biggist nuclear trading partner.

    Be advised and be advised only, this is a guest. It is because the enrichment technologies ain't on par with the reactors and supplies being offerred outside of Russia,

    Efficient energy is far more important to India than weapons technology.
    Last edited by Officer of Engineers; 25 Oct 10, at 01:33.

  8. #8
    Turbanator Senior Contributor Double Edge's Avatar
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    Section from an op-ed here concering this deal..

    At the recent US-Pak talks, Pakistan demanded parity with India in getting a waiver from provisions of the US non-proliferation laws. The US replied that Pakistan was not on par with India and so could not get identical treatment.

    However, if China is allowed to supply new reactors to Pakistan, Islamabad will get a status far higher than New Delhi’s. India had to make major legislative changes, separate defence reactors from civilian ones, and accept IAEA inspection as a condition for civilian nuclear cooperation. But Pakistan is on the verge of getting all its wants without any conditions at all.

    When China joined the Nuclear Suppliers Group, the group’s rules did not affect a deal already signed to supply two Chinese reactors to Pakistan. But the new proposal to supply two more reactors will clearly violate NSG rules. Nevertheless, China wants to go ahead and is testing the waters.

    In Washington DC, opposition to this Chinese proposal has been astonishingly muted. India faced major fireworks when it requested a resumption of civilian reactors.

    But opposition to the Pak-China deal has been so low-key that some observers feel that the Obama administration will allow the deal to go through after some token opposition. Defence analyst Ashley Tellis is among the observers warning Obama to take a much stronger line, and tell China bluntly that the US and NSG will not tolerate such a deal.

    Pakistan has played a double game with the US in Afghanistan. Yet Obama has been obliged to give Pakistan a lot of rope because all his major supply routes to Afghanistan run through Pakistan. Having imposed sanctions in Iran, the US cannot route supplies through that country. Other routes in central Asia have very poor infrastructure. So, logistics give Pakistan huge leverage over the US. This is all the more reason for the US to get tough with Pakistan on the nuclear deal with China. This will not affect logistics to Afghanistan. And China cannot complain if it is told in the bluntest terms to abide by rules of the NSG.

  9. #9
    Turbanator Senior Contributor Double Edge's Avatar
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    An older article from FP on this subject, still valid since there hasn't been any movement yet

    The Breach
    China is about to break important international rules designed to prevent nuclear proliferation. Can Beijing be stopped?
    BY MARK HIBBS | JUNE 4, 2010

    In the coming weeks, China is expected to announce that it intends to export two nuclear-power reactors to Pakistan. The move would breach international protocol about the trade of nuclear equipment and material. Once the deal is officially confirmed, the spotlight won't be on either Beijing or Islamabad; it will be on Washington, which concluded a watershed nuclear agreement with India in 2008. That deal is the precedent that has opened the door for China -- creating an awkward test for a U.S. administration greatly concerned about the risks of nuclear proliferation.

    China's announcement will overstep the guidelines of the 46-country Nuclear Suppliers Group (NSG), which bar nuclear commerce between Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT) members like China and nonmember states like Pakistan. It will leave U.S. President Barack Obama with two options: He can either oppose the transaction and request that China leave the NSG, or grudgingly accept the Chinese exports. As of last week, when U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton met with Chinese leaders in Beijing for the three-day U.S.-China Strategic and Economic Dialogue, the United States was strongly leaning toward the latter.

    If the White House does choose to grin and bear the China-Pakistan deal, it will have compelling reasons for doing so. The United States has a lot on its plate with China right now. It wants Chinese help on U.N. Security Council sanctions against Iran, a greater Chinese effort to rein in North Korea, and a significant revaluation of China's currency vis-à-vis the U.S. dollar. But more importantly, the United States made its own NSG rule-suspending nuclear deal with India in 2008. Beijing could have blocked the NSG exemption for India, but accommodated the pressure of the United States and its allies on this issue. Now, the bill is coming due as Islamabad demands equal treatment. It would be reasonable for China to expect reciprocity from the United States in the NSG, given that it was Washington that started changing the rules.

    Indeed, since joining the group in 2004, China has played according to the NSG's voluntary rules, despite a long tradition of nuclear collaboration with Pakistan. Upon joining, Beijing informed the group of its existing civil nuclear agreement with Pakistan, which Beijing said committed China to build the Chashma-2 power reactor now scheduled to be finished next year. Since 2004, Pakistan has enlisted China to supply it with two additional power reactors, Chashma-3 and -4. Beijing hasn't obliged, but now that U.S., French, Japanese, and Russian firms are poised to sell nuclear equipment to India, China is finally prepared to press the issue.

    A number of NPT countries are watching all this with alarm. At last month's NPT Review Conference, they referred to the U.S.-India deal as a dangerous precedent. States that export nuclear equipment, they worried, would feel emboldened to brush aside rules meant to reward NPT membership with nuclear-trade privileges. The U.S.-India deal is also still lamented as a missed opportunity; had India agreed to sign the Comprehensive Nuclear-Test-Ban Treaty as a condition of the NSG exemption, for example, it would have taken a major step to de-escalate nuclear competition in South Asia. (It also would have blunted much of the resentment the deal and exemption touched off among many of the NPT's nonnuclear-weapon states.)

    Instead, here's where we are now: China is prepared to take advantage of the opening created by the United States and India to move forward on its nuclear deal with Pakistan. Because the NSG guidelines are voluntary and not legally binding, critical group members cannot prevent the transaction. Still, China knows that it faces international criticism if it goes through with the export to Pakistan, so the timing of its announcement is crucial. China chose not to formally announce its plans before the NPT Review Conference closed last month. Instead, the matter might be raised during an annual NSG plenary meeting to be held in New Zealand in late June.

    If that happens and China looks set to move forward with the trade, all is not lost. Rather than remaining formally silent or issuing a paper démarche expressing regret about China's move, the United States could call upon China and Pakistan to provide a significant nonproliferation benefit as part of the transaction -- of the sort the U.S.-India deal failed to include. For example, both countries could together open the road to negotiation of a Fissile Material Cutoff Treaty, which would halt production of highly enriched uranium and plutonium for weapons worldwide. Right now, Pakistan is blocking negotiations at the U.N. Conference on Disarmament in Geneva, citing the U.S.-India deal and the NSG exemption for India. Many NSG states think that China -- the only one of the NPT's five nuclear-weapons states never to have declared a moratorium on producing fissile material for nuclear weapons -- stands behind Pakistan in holding up the negotiations.

    A more modest but practicable step would be for China and Pakistan to cooperate in improving the security of the latter's nuclear installations, materials, and other assets. Doing so would force China to engage more directly in solving nonproliferation problems in South Asia at a time when Islamabad has become resentful and suspicious of Washington's efforts to secure Pakistan's nuclear infrastructure. This should not trouble the United States: Historically, China has a far more trusting relationship with Pakistan in the nuclear area, and since the late 1980s, Washington and Beijing have worked through bilateral nonproliferation issues concerning Chinese nuclear ties to Pakistan and have brought into force a bilateral nuclear-cooperation agreement on the basis of which U.S. industry is now deeply involved in China's civilian nuclear-energy program.

    If the NSG countries press for such nuclear security and nonproliferation action, however, China may well push back, for example by claiming that India would surely object to its greater involvement in Pakistan's nuclear program. But such regional sensitivities didn't stop India from forging a nuclear alliance with the United States in 2008 despite its knowledge that Washington had done the nuclear deal as part of a strategic realignment aimed at challenging Beijing.

    There will also be critics in the United States. Surely, many will argue, China will fall short in improving Pakistan's nuclear security, given the lack of success had by the United States, Japan, Russia, and South Korea in convincing Chinese leaders to pressure North Korea to abandon its nuclear-weapons program. But China didn't meet those expectations for a specific reason: its strategic interest in keeping the peninsula divided and its border with the North at ease. Boosting nuclear security in Pakistan, however, would clearly and directly improve China's own security. China shares the U.S. goal of eliminating terrorism. Loose nukes in Pakistan could end up in the hands of Chinese irredentists and separatists.

    So, if China refuses to halt the exports to Pakistan, should Washington push to kick Beijing out of the NSG? No. At a time when the country has become the world's biggest nuclear beehive, a China outside the suppliers group would be free to ignore the concerns of the United States and other nuclear exporters.

    Sixty percent of the reactors under construction in the world today are in China. Chinese industry is investing billions of dollars to make equipment for these and future units, and then find new export markets, including in developing countries. U.S. regulators have already warned their Chinese counterparts that without China's cooperation, unfettered exports of substandard equipment made in China could imperil the safety of the world's nuclear installations. Outside the NSG, China might in the future not be restrained from exporting sensitive technology if the country establishes itself as a major hub for reprocessing and plutonium-fuels production. With China outside the NSG, the United States and other NSG states would find it harder to get Beijing to strictly implement nuclear export controls. In the worst case, a China adrift from the global nuclear-trade regime could become the future center of a nuclear black market.

    But keeping China in the NSG doesn't mean letting Beijing off the hook. NSG members should push hard to ensure that significant nonproliferation benefits accrue from the China-Pakistan deal. Simply acquiescing would seal the group's lack of credibility as the world's nuclear-trade gatekeeper. Firm resolve by the United States and other NSG states, on the other hand, would alert China that it will have to think about more than just its commercial interests in exporting nuclear equipment.

  10. #10
    Officer of Engineers
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    *** Light bulb came on ***

    India has refused uranium enrichment technology trade ... even when offerred to be grandfathered by Russia. India is defining the ACCEPTABLE civilian trade ... despite the blanket waiver ... though not quite blanket ... but effectively with conditions. India wants to restrict the nuclear weapons technology trade and by refusing the uranium enrichment, she denies the same to both Pakistan and Israel.

  11. #11
    In Memoriam/Battleship Enthusiast Defense Professional USSWisconsin's Avatar
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    Is the Taliban likely to get their hands on Pakistan's nuclear weapons or fissile materials? What safeguards this from happening?
    "If your plan is for one year, plant rice. If your plan is for ten years, plant trees.
    If your plan is for one hundred years, educate children."

  12. #12
    Turbanator Senior Contributor Double Edge's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by USSWisconsin View Post
    Is the Taliban likely to get their hands on Pakistan's nuclear weapons or fissile materials?
    No

    Quote Originally Posted by USSWisconsin View Post
    What safeguards this from happening?
    The Pakistani regime's very attuned instinct for self-preservation

  13. #13
    Regular Pak Nationalist's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by USSWisconsin View Post
    Is the Taliban likely to get their hands on Pakistan's nuclear weapons or fissile materials? What safeguards this from happening?

    Not a chance...even zardari dont know where they are...

    And same goes for the CIA most probably..

    Pak nuclear assets are under the supervision of Pak army's strategic command branch where very few selected people have access and the system has many layers.....

    The news and articles you hear/read in media are nothing more then just propaganda.

  14. #14
    Regular Pak Nationalist's Avatar
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    Here is little something from Indian army chief..
    DAWN.COM | World | Pakistan's nukes safe, says Indian Army Chief

  15. #15
    Officer of Engineers
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    Quote Originally Posted by Pak Nationalist View Post
    Not a chance...even zardari dont know where they are...

    And same goes for the CIA most probably..

    Pak nuclear assets are under the supervision of Pak army's strategic command branch where very few selected people have access and the system has many layers.....

    The news and articles you hear/read in media are nothing more then just propaganda.
    We have been looking for nukes for 30 more years than Pakistan even considered the idea. The spooks know where they are.

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