With Reactor Deal, China and Pakistan Seek to Reshape Global Nuclear Governance

By Saurav Jha, on , Briefing

In April, the China National Nuclear Corp. (CNNC) announced the export of two ACP-1000 reactors to Pakistan, plans subsequently confirmed by the Pakistan Atomic Energy Commission in June. In addition to reaffirming China’s commitment to one of the most important aspects of its “all weather” strategic relationship with Pakistan, the move also heralded an expansion of Chinese nuclear exceptionalism, underpinned by China’s growing confidence in its domestic industrial and international financial strength.

While the deal is clearly in direct contravention of China’s commitments as a member of the Nuclear Suppliers Group (NSG), it remains to be seen if other NSG members will censure Beijing for it, especially since most major NSG members remain heavily invested in bilateral civil nuclear relationships with China. The deal will also push the international community to more carefully weigh the costs and benefits of keeping Pakistan, a country with a growing fleet of item-specific safeguarded reactors, outside of global nuclear governance frameworks. ...

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