Rare Materials Plant (RMP)
Rattehali [Rattehalli / Ratehalli]
The Rattehall Rare Materials Plant (RMP) is located near Mysore in Karnataka state. This pilot-scale gas centrifuge uranium enrichment plant, with several hundred centrifuges, is generally believed to be capable of producing several kilograms of HEU each year. The two US-built light water reactors at Tarapur are the only civil reactors in India that require low-enriched uranium fuel. All other Indian power reactors use natural uranium fuel and heavy water as a moderator. Consequently, India does not have large-scale uranium enrichment facilities. The unsafeguarded facility, which was built in the late 1980s, is reported to be intended to enrich uranium for future use in fuelling nuclear-powered submarines.
It is reported that indigenously enriched uranium was used in the two low-yield weapons tested in 1998, leading to speculation that the material may have been obtained Rare Materials Plant in Mysore, site of BARC's uranium enrichment plant, or possibly from the Fast Breeder Test Reactor (FBTR) project at the Indira Gandhi Centre for Atomic Research (IGCAR) in Kalpakkam. However, most of the fissile material used in the tests probably came from BARC in Trombay.
According to the IHS Jane’s group in 2015, the new potential site at Mysore’s Indian Rare Metals Plant could help expand India’s uranium enrichment “substantially,” for its nuclear submarine fleet and it would be “most likely to facilitate the construction of an increased number of naval reactors,” towards this end. Karl Dewey, Proliferation Editor at IHS Jane’s Intelligence Review, added, “The enrichment plant is primarily built to provide uranium for submarine reactors. However, there will now be significant excess capacity that could be used for other purposes, such as developing nuclear weapons.”
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