The second nuclear reactor at the Khusab is in its initial stage of operation, a leading US-think tank said today based on the latest Google imagery of the nuclear reactor of Pakistan.
"GoogleEarth recently posted satellite imagery from GeoEye featuring the Khushab nuclear site in Pakistan".
"Imagery dated December 31, 2009 shows what appears to be steam distorting the view of some of the cooling tower fan blades for the second plutonium production Khushab reactor," said Paul Brannan of the Institute for Science and International Security, a Washington-based think tank.
"This would indicate that the second Khushab reactor is at least at some state of initial operation," Brannan said in a press statement that also released the latest Google Earth pictures of the Khushab reactor.
On April 23, 2009, the Institute for Science and International Security determined from DigitalGlobe satellite imagery that major construction of the second Khushab reactor was likely finished, and that it could soon begin operation.
In February 2010, it was reported that Pakistan may have completed the second Khushab reactor, citing a recent visit to the site by the Prime Minister where he reportedly congratulated engineers for "completing important projects".
Pakistan has one plutonium production reactor already operational at Khushab.
Pakistan began building the second Khushab reactor sometime between 2000 and 2002.
"Pakistan began building a third Khushab reactor sometime around the middle of 2006. These Khushab reactors support Pakistan's nuclear weapons programme," Brannan said.