China Is on Track to Become Nuclear Superpower, Ushering in New Age

WASHINGTON — On the Chinese coast, just 135 miles from Taiwan, Beijing is preparing to start a new reactor the Pentagon sees as delivering fuel for a vast expansion of China’s nuclear arsenal, potentially making it an atomic peer of the United States and Russia. The reactor, known as a fast breeder, excels at making plutonium, a top fuel of atom bombs.

The nuclear material for the reactor is being supplied by Russia, whose Rosatom nuclear giant has in the past few months completed the delivery of 25 tons of highly enriched uranium to get production started. That deal means that Russia and China are now cooperating on a project that will aid their own nuclear modernizations and, by the Pentagon’s estimates, produce arsenals whose combined size could dwarf that of the United States.

This new reality is prompting a broad rethinking of American nuclear strategy that few anticipated a dozen years ago, when President Barack Obama envisioned a world that was inexorably moving toward…

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This article was written by David E. Sanger, William J. Broad and Chris Buckley and originally published on