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Study by SIPRI Researcher published in Science and Global Security

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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. 

The study by Tamara Patton, SIPRI Guest Researcher, published in the Science & Global Security Journal, 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.