This presentation aims at answering questions regarding India's capability to produce weapons-grade plutonium and the impact of the U.S.-India deal, or the lack thereof, on India's nuclear weapons program. The basic answers provided here are that the U.S.-India deal does not significantly affect the military plutonium production program. Any reduction in weapons-grade plutonium production could be compensated for by any of several methods that would, however, require government decision and budget allocation. The uranium constraint is a serious long-term restraint, particularly, on the civilian power program, which is the major national consumer of natural uranium. There are ways of alleviating and ultimately resolving this constraint, relying on India's domestic uranium resources, which would more than suffice for the remaining life of all the currently existing and planned reactors, if mining and milling capacity could be commissioned on time. The U.S.-India deal would alleviate the near-term uranium supply-demand mismatch by allowing uranium imports into the country. In the meantime, India is pursuing several strategies discussed here to ease its impending uranium supply crunch.
Chaim Braun is a vice president of Altos Management Partners, Inc., and a CISAC science fellow and affiliate. He is a member of the Near-Term Deployment and the Economic Cross-Cut Working Groups of the Department of Energy (DOE) Generation IV Roadmap study. He conducted several nuclear economics-related studies for the DOE Nuclear Energy Office, the Energy Information Administration, the Electric Power Research Institute, the Nuclear Energy Institute, Non-Proliferation Trust International, and others. Braun has worked as a member of Bechtel Power Corporation's Nuclear Management Group, and led studies on power plant performance and economics used to support maintenance services. Braun has worked on a study of safeguarding the Agreed Framework in North Korea, was the co-leader of a NATO Study of Terrorist Threats to Nuclear Power Plants, led CISAC's Summer Study on Terrorist Threats to Research Reactors, and most recently co-authored an article with former CISAC Co-Director Chris Chyba on nuclear proliferation rings.