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Pak nuclear stockpile to touch 200 in a decade

Washington: Pakistan has the world`s fastest-growing nuclear stockpile and it could achieve 150-200 warheads in a decade despite the political instability in the country, two top American atomic experts have said.

Pakistan is in the process of building two new plutonium production reactors and a new reprocessing facility to fabricate more nuclear weapons fuel, wrote nuclear experts Hans M Kristensen and Robert S Norris in the latest issue of Bulletin of Atomic Scientists.

In their paper `Pakistan`s nuclear forces, 2011`, the authors estimate that if Pakistan`s expansion continues, its nuclear weapons stockpile could reach 150-200.

"Despite its political instability, Pakistan continues to steadily expand its nuclear capabilities and competencies; in fact, it has the world`s fastest-growing nuclear stockpile," they wrote.

"We estimate that Pakistan has a nuclear weapons stockpile of 90-110 nuclear warheads, an increase from the estimated 70-90 warheads in 2009," the paper said.

"It is also developing new delivery systems.

Enhancements to Pakistan`s nuclear forces include a new nuclear capable medium-range ballistic missile, the development of two new nuclear-capable short-range ballistic missiles, and the development of two new nuclear-capable cruise missiles," they wrote.

"With four new delivery systems and two plutonium production reactors under development, however, the rate of Pakistan`s stockpile growth may even increase over the next 10 years," they warned.

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