Combining Satellite Imagery and 3D Drawing Tools for Nonproliferation Analysis: A Case Study of Pakistan's Khushab Plutonium Production Reactors

Tamara Patton, "Combining Satellite Imagery and 3D Drawing Tools for Nonproliferation Analysis: A Case Study of Pakistan's Khushab Plutonium Production Reactors," Science & Global Security, 20, no. 2-3, (2012): 117-140.
The ability to extract three-dimensional (3D) data from two-dimensional satellite images provides opportunities to apply novel geospatial techniques to problems relating to nuclear arms control, nonproliferation, and disarmament. This study demonstrates some of these techniques by estimating the plutonium production capacity of the heavy water nuclear reactors at the Khushab complex in Pakistan, where since 1998 Pakistan has produced plutonium for its nuclear arsenal. Three-dimensional analysis is used to assess the viability of using the horizontal cross-sectional area of the Khushab reactors' mechanical draft cooling towers to estimate the thermal capacity of each reactor and set an upper bound for the reactors' abilities to produce plutonium. The horizontal area approach suggests the three completed Khushab reactors have a thermal power of 40-90 MWt each. The results suggest that a horizontal area approach can be used successfully with the Khushab reactors, as well as other low power, research-type reactors employing mechanical draft cooling towers.

Article access: Taylor & Francis Online | Free PDF

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