India had enough plutonium in 2014 to possess 75-125 nukes: US think tank

November 3, 2015

The Indian Express:

India had enough weapons-grade plutonium by 2014 to possess an estimated arsenal of 75 to 125 nuclear weapons, according to a prominent US-based think-tank. India has “one of the largest nuclear power programmes” among developing nations, the Institute for Science and International Security said here.

“An estimate of India’s nuclear arsenal can be derived by considering its weapon-grade plutonium stock. The resulting estimate has a median of 138 nuclear weapons equivalent with a range of 110 to 175 weapons equivalent,” a report released yesterday by the think-tank.

“However, the actual number of nuclear weapons India built from its stocks of weapon-grade plutonium must be less. When accounting for the amount of plutonium in the weapons production pipelines and in reserves, it is reasonable to assume that only about 70 per cent of the estimated stock of weapon-grade uranium is in nuclear weapons,” the report said.

“Thus the predicted number of weapons made from its weapon-grade plutonium at the end of 2014 is about 97 with a range of 77-123. These values are rounded to 100 nuclear weapons with a range of 75-125 nuclear weapons,” the report co-authored by David Albright and Serena Kelleher-Vergantini said.

Notably, Albright had led anti-India campaign both at the Congress and among the think-tanks against the Indo-US civil nuclear deal. The report ‘India’s Stocks of Civil and Military Plutonium and Highly Enriched Uranium, End 2014’ concludes that India has “one of the largest nuclear power programmes among developing nations”.

The report estimated that India has made 100-200 kilogrammes of weapon-grade uranium for nuclear weapons. “Faced with a lack of information but evidence that India has produced HEU (highly enriched uranium) for nuclear weapons, it is assumed that India has made 100-200 kilogrammes of weapon-grade uranium for nuclear weapons. Of course, this estimate is highly uncertain,” the report said.

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