Proliferation

Pakistan's Dirty Nuclear Secret

In 1982, China passed a virtual do-it-yourself kit for nuclear bombs on to Pakistan, according to the written accounts of the father of Pakistan's nuclear program, Abdul Qadeer Khan, obtained by The Washington Post. The cargo that the Pakistan military carted back from the Chinese city of Urumqi included enough weapons-grade uranium for two atomic bombs and a blueprint for a weapon that China had already tested, which helped speed Pakistan toward the bomb. U.S. officials have known about the broad-ranging secret nuclear deal for decades, and once privately confronted China about it, but have avoided raising the issue publicly. China gave Pakistan the materials after Khan, a metallurgist who worked at a Dutch centrifuge manufacturer in the 1970s, shared European centrifuge technology with China in order to speed its lagging uranium-enrichment program. In 2003, Libya confirmed that it obtained nuclear-design information from Khan's network, and U.S. officials worry that Khan also shared the information with Iran.