Officials from the US tried to the excuse that militants in might be able to secure the nuclear weapons material from Pakistan or this enriched uranium might be used in the manufacturing of illicit nuclear weapons but they failed to mention the fact that in its whole history Pakistan has never lost or diverted nuclear resources provided to it for the use as civilian atomic power plants. On the other hand our neighboring country India has long history of using atomic reactor provided to them for electricity generation under energy for peace agreements to manufacture materials or their nuclear weapons.
Pakistan Atomic Research Reactor-I is an American supplied research reactor which became fully operation in June, 1966. PARR-I was designed to use approximately 93% Enriched Uranium in with reactor’s power level was rated at 5MW. PARR-1 went critical in December 1965. In October 1991, PARR-1 was upgraded to utilize the 20% Enriched Uranium by the Pakistan Atomic Energy Commission (PAEC). Pakistan Atomic Research Reactor-1 has also been upgraded to attain the higher power level of 10 MW. Upgraded PARR-1 was able to reach this higher power level on May7, 1992.
Pakistan’s nuclear weapons are secured under the watchful eye of the Strategic Plans Division (SPD). To manufacture the nuclear warhead from the highly enriched uranium Pakistan has already build the whole infrastructure which includes different uranium deposits, uranium mines, uranium ore processing plants, enrichment plants and facilities to convert enriched uranium hexafluoride gas into solid uranium oxide or metal. All these facilities including reactors are guarded by highly trained force.
Strategic Plans Division of Pakistan uses “extensive personal-reliability program” to ensure that all of its employees are working for the Pakistan and have no other motives.
Pakistan Atomic Research Reactor-1 was converted to use the only 20% enriched uranium in 1992. This means that enriched uranium used in PARR-1 can’t be used to manufacture the nuclear weapons directly and it would need to be further enriched it to level of more than 90%.
USA and UK has many times in the past have tried to use threat of extremist take over to pressure Pakistan to start the capping its nuclear program. Both countries have several times raised their concerns about the security of Pakistani nuclear arsenal. But Government of Pakistan decided not to allow such activity to take place under the fear that it might be seen by the people of Pakistan as betrayal of the government with Pakistan. They feared that local media would use this incident as evidence that government is giving up on the US demand of rolling back the nuclear weapons program.
Spokes person of Foreign Ministry of Pakistan, Abdul Basit has confirmed that USA was requesting the return of the nuclear fuel provided for the research reactor built by the US in 1960s. He said that Pakistan denied the request on the basis that under the agreement this nuclear fuel is property of Pakistan.
While USA keeps making claims that Pakistani weapons might fall in the hands of the militants due to the security breaches its own nuclear forces have suffered from many incidents that could easily have turned into disasters. Earlier this week it was reported that US Federal agents tasked to safely transport nuclear weapons were found drunk on the job. These agents were detained by police while on the job. Atleast 16 similar incidents have been reported in last two years alone.
In a similar incident in 2007, six nuclear warheads on B-52 Stratofortress bomber by United States Air Force’s personal as they failed to follow the routine procedures. This long range bomber took off and remained in air with these weapons without anyone's knowledge. These six nuclear-armed cruise missiles were later discovered when the aircraft landed. United States needs to improve its nuclear weapons handling procedures before suspecting the capability to safe guard nuclear weapons by the other countries.