Burmese Reactors Close to Completion: Military Sources
covering burma and southeast asia
Thursday, May 30, 2024

Burmese Reactors Close to Completion: Military Sources

By MIN LWIN Saturday, March 13, 2010


Burma's ruling junta has finished construction work on three nuclear reactors in the country's north and will soon be ready to put them into operation, according to military sources at the elite Defense Services Academy (DSA) in Maymyo, Mandalay Division.

Enlarge Image
A map showing the Pon Taung Pon Nya mountain range, the site of one of three nuclear reactors recently constructed by the Burmese junta.
The nuclear reactors, which the regime claims are for research purposes, are located at Kyauk Pa Htoe, a village in  Thabeikkyin Township, northern Mandalay Division; Maymyo Fifty Miles, an area some 80 km from the setting of the DSA; and Pon Taung Pon Nya, a mountainous area on the border between Magwe and Sagaing divisions.

“They [military leaders] chose Pon Taung Pon Nya because it is a safe distance from highly populated cities,” said a military official in Maymyo, also known as Pyin Oo Lwin.

According to local residents, the site is about 30 km from the village of Kyaw in Gantgaw Township, situated on the Pakokkuu-Kalay railway line in Magwe Division.

“Since the project started in 2007, there have been many foreigners who look like they might be Chinese coming and going,” said a local source living in Kyaw.

“We are not allowed to go anywhere near this area built for military use,” the source added.

Although there has been confirmation that construction work on the projects has been completed, it remains unclear how soon the reactors will be ready to go online. However, a recent flurry of activity, including high-level visits by senior members of the ruling regime, suggests that the reactors will soon be ready for use, according to military sources.

The sources say that Vice Sen-Gen Maung Aye, the junta's No. 2, has made frequent trips to the DSA in Maymyo in recent months to meet with Maj-Gen Sein Win, the head of the Directorate of Defense Services Science and Technology Research, which is responsible for Burma’s nuclear program.

According to Ye Htet, a former lieutenant who defected from the Burmese military while studying for a graduate degree at the DSA, the regime has invested heavily in the project with an eye to early completion. He said the junta has sent around 6,000 military officials to Russia to study nuclear technology.

“The project is at least half finished,” said Ye Htet, who fled to Mae Sot, on the Thai-Burmese border, earlier this year.

The technology for Burma’s nuclear research project was provided by Russia’s Federal Atomic Energy Agency (RFAEA), which agreed in May 2007 to help design and build a 10-megawatt light-water reactor using 20 percent enriched uranium-235 fuel.

However, the Russian agency has since distanced itself from the Burmese nuclear program. This has led to fears that the regime has turned to North Korea for assistance in achieving its nuclear ambitions.

Please read our policy before you post comments. Click here
E-mail:   (Your e-mail will not be published.)
You have characters left.
Word Verification: captcha Type the characters you see in the picture.

Kyaik-ka-san Wrote:
Generally speaking, there are two main reasons for Than Shwe trying hard to build a nuclear reactor.

(1) He was bluffed by abnormal Kim. J. II. The latter might say if he can have it, then the US is not able to touch him any more. Thus, piles of money jumped out of the stupid junta’s pocket. Knowing that stupid guy was hooked, Kim took another pile with the tunnel business.

(2) TS’s own idea was to make it a show to neighboring guys including China. Unfortunately, both tunnel and nuclear were exposed before completion. In this case, too, who knows if Kim exchanged with another pile that he needed badly.

Kim knows well in advance that the dirty business will not keep away others for long. Therefore, his business motto is cash down. In fact, the junta may not achieve his goal, at all. All neighbors will occupy the same when he is able to complete his.
In the end, all stupid guys pay a high price for a useless antique. This is crafty Kim’s way of doing business with the stupid junta.

Why do cronies take pride in it?

Blue Mazda Wrote:
The link between building a nuclear reactor and developing nuclear weapons is a most spurious one. And as I understand it, this programme has been in effect since 2000.

Allen Thomson Wrote:
For a collection of reporting and commentary on this topic, see


Eric Johnston Wrote:
If my information is correct, at the beginning of this decade the target for the training of officers (including a few civilians) in Russia was 4,600 over a period of years, i.e. not all at the same time. However this covered a variety of civil engineering subjects (having potential military uses) and nuclear technology was but one of them. Not long afterwards the target figure was increased to more than 5,000. It is likely to have increased still further over the intervening years. The cost of training one officer in Russia was put at US$86,400 at the time. People can choose to believe this information or not because I have no further information to give on the matter. I am happy to be ridiculed for it.

A small number, about twenty, were also said to be undergoing at that time civil nuclear training in Japan.

Incidentally, some of the tunnels built by the SPDC are said to be camouflaged against detection by aerial surveillance. How effective this may be I do not know.

plan B Wrote:
The Irrawaddy risks more than ridicule, if it continues to put forth this kind of innuendo.
Even if the endeavor is to prompt the US to look at the SPDC march towards N. Korean enclave, which one seriously doubts this attempt is, it will behoove The Irrawaddy to know that the US has the most sophisticated observation system available.
The Irrawaddy will do well instead to focus on the useless careless West interferences in Myanmar that has effected this situation.
The Irrawaddy stands to be faulted for the citizenry's suffering, by purposeful omission of "pointing out the cause /effect of this clear western nonsense that hurt the citizenry twice."
Once by the SPDC
Secondly by sanctions.
Time for The Irrawaddy to come clean to be for the citizenry instead of other nonsense as the west has done!

Kyaik-ka-san Wrote:
Knowledgeable people understand how to take pride, strong and hopeful of their country. There are many key factors to measure whether a country is strong, advanced and developed.
They are (1) Health benefits and an education system, (2) Democracy and rights, (3) Military might (few examples).

Nuclear power does NOT represent military might. It is a national waste. The clever leaders do not consider, even they do have enough resources. To the contrary, those poor, uneducated guys encourage, take pride, build and think it is the only show.

Time is changing. After WWII, does any country have used nuclear weapon? Actually, it becomes a kind of antique. The real military might decide who own most advance conventional weapon. It is clear why no one is able to compete with the US today.

Than Shwe and cronies should not be foolish and learn more about PGS of US currently under development. It can wipe out nuclear installations within 2-10 minutes anywhere in the world. Even for China the system is first heard.

Oo Maung Gyi Wrote:
I told about this nuclear development matter since 2005, but nobody cared. Now the Burmese military has development even surface-to-surface missiles and also long range missiles.
At present the junta is making road construction from Bassein city of the delta region to Arakan coast to bring heavy tanks as a standby in case of invasion.
Now election laws are promulgated to legalize the military government to rule the country for decades. International communities have to follow in line with the junta's laws. There is no other way to follow the steps of the public except military orders.
One day maybe the Burma military becomes like the regime of Hitler and cannot find the graveyard of the junta's leaders. Whether to follow or not the road map steps are implementing in the country, so ASEAN and international communities have to dance with them. Sure, there will be no democracy within the country.

Peter Ellerich Wrote:
To build a nuclear reactor just in less than three years is even in Myanmar not possible. Why not making yourself conversant with facts instead of spreading rumours based on hearsay.

Paolo22 Wrote:
Really, 60,000 men to Russia? A ninth of the military needs to know about nuclear technology? When will the Irrawaddy begin to think about its own reporting?

Kerry Wrote:
The whole world is moving towards peace.

Those living in the past are building weapons and reactors. They are completely out of step.

Those who continue to destroy humanity's precious environment are out of step.

Freedom, health care, food, education and removal of all brutality for the people of Burma are the first steps in rebuilding this beautiful country. In this you need true leaders, and indeed you have them.

In this, human rights is a 21st century 'given', not an issue of deprivation.

The modern world is not fraught with these ghosts of crude and brutal old ways. It is only the backward nations that are stuck in this machismo of old laws and ways. Change is frightening to these stuck old men.

PRC, Russia, Iran, Junta, Mgabe... give it up.

Women are now half the world. They have voice and strength. Burma, your women are strong. Your children are plentiful. You have suffered enough. You deserve all the care and kindness that comes your way. And it IS coming.

Dangerman Wrote:
Perhaps now the world will realise the Burma is not just a problem in itself, but an international problem that needs to be resolved. Surely Thailand, India and Laos are shaking in their boots? A Nuclear armed Burma? Now that changes regional politics.

Michel Tu Wrote:
Way to go Burma. And the world says Burma is a poor country. funny Huh?

thar Gyi po Wrote:
Burma will be the regional power in a few years. People maybe suffering but the government is rich and military is very strong. And also China and Russia are also their friends. We just have to wait and see...

kyaik-ka-san Wrote:
Burmese and Chinese must worry about the news. It was believed Jiang Zhimin, former G-S of CCP had raised his concern to SLOC while visiting Rangoon. He might feel China was at risk because incompetence of the technology. Once problem arises like Chornobyl reactor accident in Russia, China and Burmese people in the north are victims of radioactive cloud.

The figure, “around 60,000 military officials” supported his view. Why so many officials were sent whereas about 50 able staff shall be enough? Due to few qualified staff available and it is outcome of garbage education system run by SPDC.

Look at a practical fact. How many pilot died due to lack of ability. Function of nuclear reactor is much more complicated, imagine the consequences.

Russian radioactive cloud reached as far as Scandinavia. In Burma, northern and central Burma is vulnerable, where Kyat-Pyay located.
Lower plane will be less affected since direction of wind is south to north in Burma.

Zam Mang Wrote:
Most of the citizens of the Union of Burma are already abroad and if the accident happens, the soldiers will be hit hard by these reactors anyway.

According to "Military Sources"!!!!
You guys should stop making up news like this one unless you understand how a reactor works. THREE REACTORS close to completion!!!! Are you joking? Even North Korea, which is indigenously capable of producing its own reactor, could not construct three reactors at the same time. 60,000 officers to Russia to study nuclear!!! Even if this is what the defector said, you should verify such information with expert sources. No country needs 60,000 officers to run a nuclear program. Please do not write a news just to make a headline appear 'sexy.' Please be professional and respect your readers.

Roland Watson Wrote:
The information about Kyauk Pa Htoe confirms what Dictator Watch first published in our June 2008 Russia-Burma nuclear intelligence report.

soe thane Wrote:
Is this a joke? 60,000 military officials to Russia? But the Chinese are helping as well? LOL. Maybe the Joker and the Penguin were spotted in NPT as well?

more articles in this section