February 12, 2019
North Korea has continued to produce bomb fuel while in denuclearisation talks with the United States and may have produced enough in the past year to add as many as seven nuclear weapons to its arsenal, according to a study released just weeks before a planned second summit between the North Korean leader and U.S. President Donald Trump.
However, the country’s freeze in nuclear and missile testing since 2017 mean that North Korea’s weapons programme probably poses less of a threat than it did at the end of that year, the report by Stanford University’s Center for International Security and Cooperation found.
Siegfried Hecker, a former director of the U.S. Los Alamos weapons laboratory in New Mexico who is now at Stanford and was one of the report’s authors, told Reuters analysis of satellite imagery showed North Korea’s production of bomb fuel continued in 2018.
He said spent fuel generated from operation of the 5 megawatt reactor at its main nuclear plant at Yongbyon from 2016-18 appeared to have been reprocessed starting in May and would have produced an estimated 5-8 kg of weapons-grade plutonium.
This article was posted: Tuesday, February 12, 2019 at 7:53 am