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Western officials are raising safety concerns over Myanmar’s plans to build its first nuclear reactor.

The small reactor — which would have a capacity of 10 megawatts and cost roughly US$25 million — would produce medical isotopes and test the feasibility of bringing nuclear energy to the poverty-stricken country, formerly known as Burma.

But other analysts discount any security risk, and point out that as a member of the Southeast Asia Nuclear Weapon-Free Zone, Myanmar has accepted significant restrictions on nuclear-related activities.

Reference: Science 295, 782 (2002)