China Ballistic Missiles and Nuclear Arms Thread


escobar

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by the countries that submit annual civilian plutonium declarations that reflect the status of civilian plutonium stocks as of 31 December 2019.
China has not has not submitted its 2017-2019 reports as of 20 January 2021. The last INFCIRC/549 report submitted to the IAEA showed 40.9 kg of separated plutonium as of 31 December 2016.
 
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Ndla2

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China’s push to develop fuel for a new generation of nuclear power reactors will produce large amounts of materials that could be diverted to making nuclear weapons, non-proliferation experts said on Thursday.

China is developing advanced fast reactors and reprocessing facilities as it seeks to reduce dependency on coal, which emits emissions harmful to human health and that worsen climate change. But reprocessing also produces plutonium that could be used to make nuclear weapons.

There is no evidence that China intents to divert its potential plutonium stockpile to weapons use, but concern has grown as Beijing is expected to boost its number of nuclear warheads over the next decade from the low 200s now.

“To reduce international concerns about the potential plutonium diversion issues, China needs to keep its plutonium recycling programs more transparent including timely reporting of its stockpile of civilian plutonium like they did before 2016,” Hui Zhang, a senior research associate at Harvard University’s Project on Managing the Atom, said in an email.

Zhang, a contributor to a Nonproliferation Policy Education Center report called “China’s Civil Nuclear Sector: Plowshares to Swords?”, said China should also offer to have its plutonium recycling facilities monitored by the U.N.’s International Atomic Energy Agency.

China’s embassy in Washington did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

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(original report)

The report recommended that Washington urge China to join the United States, South Korea and Japan, in sharing information on current plutonium and enriched uranium holdings and production capacities.

It also recommended that Washington explore with those countries, the possibility of taking a plutonium production timeout. Japan, South Korea, and the United States should offer to delay their plutonium production and fast reactor programs, if China does likewise, it said.

Leaders from those countries should work to “forestall industrial scale reprocessing, which would only make the entire region, and the world, less secure,” Christopher Ford, a nonproliferation official under Donald Trump, and Thomas Countryman, who served the same role under Barack Obama, said in the report’s preface.

The U.S. Departments of State and Energy did not immediately respond to a request for comment. (Reporting by Timothy Gardner Editing by Alistair Bell)
For me it is the absolute right of China to build more warheads. Especially considering the current and future geopolitical climate. It is none of the USA business.
 

gelgoog

Captain
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...
The report recommended that Washington urge China to join the United States, South Korea and Japan, in sharing information on current plutonium and enriched uranium holdings and production capacities.

It also recommended that Washington explore with those countries, the possibility of taking a plutonium production timeout. Japan, South Korea, and the United States should offer to delay their plutonium production and fast reactor programs, if China does likewise, it said.
...

Nice joke. The US was supposed to recycle weapons plutonium and uranium into MOX fuel in a deal they made with Russia. The US reneged on the deal and has huge plutonium stocks which they did not burn up.
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They can quickly turn those back into warheads. They already have a lot more warheads than China does without using that plutonium. And China is supposed to cut its own plutonium production? Only if they were stupid.
 

Ndla2

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Nice joke. The US was supposed to recycle weapons plutonium and uranium into MOX fuel in a deal they made with Russia. The US reneged on the deal and has huge plutonium stocks which they did not burn up.
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They can quickly turn those back into warheads. They already have a lot more warheads than China does without using that plutonium. And China is supposed to cut its own plutonium production? Only if they were stupid.
Some even suggested that China should have no less than 1000 deployed warheads to keep the world peace by giving US a huge pause.
 

ougoah

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Some even suggested that China should have no less than 1000 deployed warheads to keep the world peace by giving US a huge pause.

Some suggest China has long had no less than 1000 warheads. The 300 warheads China has is an estimate from many decades ago. Even when there was little threat to China from both the Soviet Union or NATO. In fact those estimates for around 300 warheads came in an era where China was close to NATO and more aligned with western powers again the Soviet Union. There has never been much sense after the 1970s and before 2000s to hype up warhead count.

Therefore 300 estimate is already more likely to be lower count than real number even back in the 1980s and 1990s where this estimate is from/ worked from.

Now there is every reason to pretend to have a higher warhead count in order to improve deterrence but there is even greater reason to actually have a high stockpile.

So think about all that and the fact that no one truly knows how many China had in the past and have in the present. Then consider that enrichment and warhead design are easy problems now for China who holds both the two known warhead configurations (one of them exclusive to China). China doesn't report weapons grade material reserves and the best estimates can only work with how much fissile material China imports and how many different types of known reactors China has. These produce extremely variable estimates on how many warheads China likely has. Then there's the fact that China has reserves of fissile material within its own land.

Then there's the problem of yield. Larger yield require more material but how much more we do not know here. It could have 3000 warheads of lower yield or 1000 of higher yield for example. When it comes to warheads, there is simply no way for the non-initiated to really know. The 300 estimate is likely way too low because it is an extremely dated estimate from an era where China would have only been under-reporting how many they own and from an era where China has little to no threat while attracting massive amounts of international investment. Nowadays China has every reason to stockpile due to mounting western threats and even more means to build a larger stockpile.
 

Ndla2

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Some suggest China has long had no less than 1000 warheads. The 300 warheads China has is an estimate from many decades ago. Even when there was little threat to China from both the Soviet Union or NATO. In fact those estimates for around 300 warheads came in an era where China was close to NATO and more aligned with western powers again the Soviet Union. There has never been much sense after the 1970s and before 2000s to hype up warhead count.

Therefore 300 estimate is already more likely to be lower count than real number even back in the 1980s and 1990s where this estimate is from/ worked from.

Now there is every reason to pretend to have a higher warhead count in order to improve deterrence but there is even greater reason to actually have a high stockpile.

So think about all that and the fact that no one truly knows how many China had in the past and have in the present. Then consider that enrichment and warhead design are easy problems now for China who holds both the two known warhead configurations (one of them exclusive to China). China doesn't report weapons grade material reserves and the best estimates can only work with how much fissile material China imports and how many different types of known reactors China has. These produce extremely variable estimates on how many warheads China likely has. Then there's the fact that China has reserves of fissile material within its own land.

Then there's the problem of yield. Larger yield require more material but how much more we do not know here. It could have 3000 warheads of lower yield or 1000 of higher yield for example. When it comes to warheads, there is simply no way for the non-initiated to really know. The 300 estimate is likely way too low because it is an extremely dated estimate from an era where China would have only been under-reporting how many they own and from an era where China has little to no threat while attracting massive amounts of international investment. Nowadays China has every reason to stockpile due to mounting western threats and even more means to build a larger stockpile.
I can see that we are basically on the same page. But I guess you missed the "deployed" part that i mentioned in my earlier post.
 

windsclouds2030

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I believe first of all China needs to equalize (or close the gap of) its nuke warheads comparatively as the USA's one, then can be more transparent as well as participate in any nuke arm control. First thing first!

The reverse may also be considered, the USA equalizes its nuke warheads to China's one.
 

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