P. Nelson, T.V.K. Woddi W.S. Charlton, “A Framework for Analysis of the Weapons Implications of the U.S.-India Nuclear Accord”, NSSPI report: NSSPI-07-010.
India’s options are analyzed, in terms of the feasible region available in ‘uranium-policy space’ (amounts of indigenous uranium employed to produce each of weapons-grade and reactor-grade plutonium). This approach is employed to evaluate, via several different metrics, the ‘immediate future’ impact of the proposed cooperation, relative to the status quo, and to other ‘baseline scenarios.’ Conclusions are that the cooperation benefits nuclear power production in India, while assessments of its potential contribution to proliferation depend sensitively on choice of metric, baseline scenario, and hypothesis regarding production of indigenous uranium. A sufficiently large increase in the historic rate of production of indigenous uranium could lead to an ‘excess,’ relative to needs for energy production, which could be used for weapons; however, under the status quo India could accomplish much the same, by decommissioning its older reactors. Relative to several metrics of the potential for vertical proliferation, the cooperation is shown to have rather marginal impact, as compared to the situation at the time of the initial Joint Statement envisioning the cooperation.