Countries: China


China is a nuclear weapon state member of the Non-Proliferation Treaty. Its nuclear arsenal is estimated to include 240 nuclear weapons, of which about 180 are believed to be operationally deployed. China's stockpile of fissile materials is estimated to include 18 ± 4 tonnes of HEU and 1.8 ± 0.5 tonnes of weapon-grade plutonium.

China has not declared officially that it has ended HEU and plutonium production for weapons, but it is believed to have done so. Production of HEU was stopped in 1987 and that of plutonium by about 1990.

Highly-enriched uranium

China has produced highly enriched uranium (HEU) for weapons in two complexes: the Lanzhou gaseous diffusion plant (Plant 504) and the Heping gaseous diffusion plant (Plant 814). It also used these enrichment plants to produce HEU for its research reactors and LEU for naval reactors. Both plants have been shut down.

The total amount of weapon-grade HEU in China's stockpile is estimated to be 18 ± 4 tonnes.

China operates three centrifuge enrichment plants -- at Hanzhong (Plant 405, Shaanxi province), Lanzhou (Plant 504, Gansu province), and Plant 814 in Sichuan province that included facilities at Jinkouhe and Emeishan. These plants produce LEU for civilian purposes.

Military plutonium

China has produced plutonium for weapons at two sites: the Jiuquan Atomic Energy Complex (also referred as Plant 404) near Yumen in Gansu province and the Guangyuan plutonium production complex (Plant 821), located at Guangyuan in
Sichuan province. The plutonium production reactor at Jiuquan is believed to have been shut down in 1984. The reactor at Guangyuan probably stopped plutonium production by 1989.

China's two plutonium production reactors produced an estimated 2 ± 0.5 tonnes of weapon-grade plutonium. Of this amount, about 200 kg of plutonium is estimated to have been consumed in China's nuclear tests. The current inventory of weapon-grade plutonium is therefore estimated to be 1.8 ± 0.5 tonnes.

Civilian plutonium

China reported its first separated civilian plutonium in its declaration to the IAEA that reflected the status of plutonium holdings as of the end of 2010. At the time, the declared amount was 13.8 kg. In 2014 China reprocessed some additional material from the 2010 campaign increasing the amount of separated civilian plutonium to 25.4 kg.