Pakistan on Monday neither confirmed nor denied a report in the US media that it was constructing a powerful new reactor for producing plutonium at its Khushab nuclear plant but said the facility, which has a heavy water reactor, has been notified to India under a bilateral pact to exchange lists of nuclear installations.
"I have seen the article in (Washington Post). It basically says Pakistan has nuclear weapons programme and nuclear facility at Khushab. This ought to be no revelation to anyone. Pakistan is a nuclear weapons state. I have no specific comments on Pakistan's facilities and programme in the centre," Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Tasnim Aslam said.
She said Khushab is a well-known nuclear facility site and figured in the list of nuclear facilities being exchanged with India under the 1988 agreement to notify each other's nuclear installations to avoid attacks on them during times of war.
Refusing to confirm whether a new reactor was being built in Khushab, Aslam, however, said the reactor site was not under the International Atomic Energy Association's (IAEA) safeguards.
Citing independent analysts, the Washington Post on Monday reported, "Satellite photos of Pakistan's Khushab nuclear site have shown what appears to be a partially completed heavy-water reactor capable-- a 20-fold increase from Pakistan's current capabilities."
"If verified, the move would signal a major expansion of the country's nuclear capabilities and potential new escalation in the region's arms race," the paper said.