Chronology of Pakistani Nuclear Development



The United States agrees to supply a light-water research reactor (Pakistan Atomic Research Reactor: PARR). 


PARR-1, a 5MW research reactor, begins operating. PARR-1 is located at the Pakistan Institute of Scientific and Technical Research (PINSTECH). 


Canada supplies Pakistan with a heavy-water reactor for the Karachi Nuclear Power Plant (KANUPP), heavy water as a moderator for the reactor, and a heavy-water production facility. 


Western suppliers embargo nuclear exports to Pakistan. 


Purchasing of components and know-how for the Kahuta uranium-enrichment centrifuge facility begins in August. 


Canada abruptly terminates its supply of nuclear fuel for the KANUPP. 

Construction begins on the first uranium-enrichment centrifuges at Kahuta. 


Leybold Heraeus of Hanan Germany, sells Pakistan vacuum pumps and equipment to be used in uranium enrichment.  

The United Kingdom sells Pakistan 30 high-frequency inverters for controlling centrifuge speeds.  


France cancels its 1976 deal with Pakistan to supply a plutonium reprocessing plant at Chasma. The facility had been partly constructed. 


Albert Goldberg is arrested in November at a US airport while attempting to ship two tons of zirconium to Pakistan. Zirconium is used in nuclear reactor operations that can lead to nuclear weapons. 


China reportedly supplies Pakistan with enough highly enriched uranium for one to two nuclear weapons. 

China supplies Pakistan with a complete design of a 25kt nuclear bomb.  

In June, France announces that it is ready to supply Pakistan with equipment for a 900MW nuclear reactor if Pakistan accepts some kind of international supervision. 

Senior Pakistani nuclear scientist Dr. Abdul Qadeer Khan orders over 6,000 tubes made of special steel to be used for uranium enrichment. 

In June, a US State Department memo says that US intelligence agencies believe the Pakistani centrifuge program is intended to produce material for nuclear weapons. 

In July, a report published in the USSR says that Pakistan can make five atom bombs in a year. 


Pakistani citizen Nazir Vaid is caught smuggling electronic components, potentially useful for nuclear weapons, from the United States. 


In July, a US television station reports that Pakistan has tested US-made krytron electric triggers in conventional explosions. Krytron triggers can be used in the detonation of nuclear devices.  


US intelligence agencies allege that Pakistan is producing highly enriched uranium, which may be used in nuclear weapons. 

In June, Dr. Abdul Qadeer Khan, head of the Pakistan's nuclear program, announces that Pakistan has a program to manufacture an indigenous nuclear reactor. 

On 15 September, Pakistan and China sign an agreement on the peaceful use of nuclear energy. This agreement includes the design, construction, and operation of nuclear power reactors. 

In September, Pakistan conducts "cold tests" of a nuclear implosion device at Chagai. 


Pakistan acquires a tritium purification and production facility from West Germany. The plant can produce up to 10g of tritium daily. Tritium can be used to produce a thermonuclear device. 


A 27kW research reactor (PARR-2) is built at Rawalpindi with Chinese assistance. 

Western intelligence sources indicate that China is arranging for Pakistan to test its nuclear device at China's Lop Nur nuclear test site.  


China reportedly provides assistance for the construction of the Chashma plutonium reprocessing facility.  


In June, the Indian government leaks information that China has rejected Pakistan's request to use the Lop Nor nuclear weapons test site. 


In September, Prime Minister Benazir Bhutto said that Pakistan could "rapidly produce" a nuclear weapon in the event of a serious threat.  


In February,  Pakistani Foreign Secretary Shahryar Khan confirmed that Pakistan has the components necessary to construct at least one nuclear weapon.  

The China National Nuclear Corporation begins work on a 300MW pressurized-water reactor at Chasma. Work is expected to be completed in late 1997, and the facility is expected to be commissioned in October 1998. 

A report by The Stockholm International Peace and Research Institute (SIPRI) says that approximately 14,000 uranium-enrichment centrifuges have been installed at Kahuta. 

German customs officials seize approximately 1,000 gas centrifuges bound for Pakistan.  


Former Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif says Pakistan has a nuclear bomb. 


February 9 - Pakistan denies charges that it bought 5,000 ring magnets from China to be used in gas centrifuges for uranium enrichment. 

Pakistan expects to complete its unsafeguarded 40MW heavy-water reactor at Khushab. US officials believe that the reactor is being built with Chinese assistance. 


May 12 - Pakistani President Muhammad Rafiq Tarar said that Pakistan has the capability to counter India's threats. Tarar said, "the proper reaction will come at some time."  
Pakistani Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif said that the government would take "any step necessary to protect the national security" of Pakistan.  

May 14 - US spy satellites detected activity in the Chagai Hills, Pakistan's nuclear test site. Military equipment and technical personnel have been detected making preparations at the test site.  

Foreign intelligence agents in Pakistan said that Pakistan could choose to test immediately for maximum political effect, or to wait a week to attain more technical data. 

May 17 - Pakistani Foreign Minister Gohar Ayub Khan said, "it's a matter of when, not if, Pakistan will test."   

The Pakistani newspaper "The Jang" reported that preparations for a test at Chagai have been finished, and Pakistan "can test within three hours."  

May 19 -  The Institute for Science and International Security (ISIS) said that Pakistan has enough uranium for about 10 weapons, which includes 210kg of weapons-grade uranium it has had since 1991 when it froze uranium production at the Kahuta research facility.  

A Pakistani embassy official said China did not dissuade Pakistan from conducting its own nuclear test and "there was a complete identity of views between Pakistan and China on the gravity of the situation, which has resulted from India's reckless behavior."  

May 21 - Zamir Akram, a senior Pakistani diplomat, said that Pakistan would like to see how the United States addresses its security concerns and "if this means releasing our F-16s, I'm sorry, but they are trying to bribe us with something that belongs to us."  

May 27 - Pakistani workers placed a nuclear device in a shaft and encased it in cement. This process, referred to as "stemming", makes it difficult to retrieve the device without detonating it.  

Pakistani Foreign Minister Gohar Ayub said, "nothing whatsoever was keeping Pakistan from proceeding with a test, and that it was not a case of if Pakistan would conduct a test but when."  

May 28 - A Pakistani Foreign Ministry statement said that it had received information that India was planning a preemptive strike against Pakistan's nuclear sites.  

Pakistani Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif reported that Pakistan conducted five nuclear tests and had "settled the score with India."  

Sharif reported that Pakistan would weaponize its intermediate-range ballistic missile Ghauri with nuclear warheads.  

Sharif chastised the international communities' response to India's nuclear tests and said, "Pakistan was left with no choice but to detonate its own nuclear devices."    

Official sources in Islamabad suggest that the five tests carried out by Pakistan were fission devices. Three devices tested had yields in the sub-kiloton (KT) range and the other two larger explosions had yields of 25KT and 12KT.  

Pakistan reported that it could "follow up" its nuclear tests in the next 24 hours at Chagai.

May 29 - Pakistani Foreign Minister Gohar Ayub Khan said in an interview with the Associated Press that Pakistan is now a nuclear weapons state.  Foreign Ministry Secretary Shamshad Ahmad said that Pakistan’s nuclear weapons capability was meant solely for national self-defense.  “It will never be used for offensive purposes,” he said in a prepared statement.

May 30 - Foreign Minister Gohar Ayub Khan announced that Pakistan had conducted a sixth nuclear test in the Chagai Hills underground test site.  The test occurred at 0810 GMT on May 30th, 1998.