North Korean Uranium Enrichment Facility Expands

Global Security Newswire Staff
Aug. 8, 2013, 9:02 a.m.

The In­sti­tute for Sci­ence and In­ter­na­tion­al Se­cur­ity re­leased a re­port on Wed­nes­day find­ing that the area of the Yongby­on re­act­or com­plex re­spons­ible for en­rich­ing urani­um is now twice as large as it was in the past.

Ac­cord­ing to the New York Times, the re­port by the Wash­ing­ton-based, non­pro­lif­er­a­tion-mon­it­or­ing group trig­gers new wor­ries that North Korea is ex­pand­ing its ca­pa­city to pro­duce weapons-grade fuel.

The ana­lys­is was based on a com­par­is­on of satel­lite im­ages of the com­plex taken in March — be­fore con­struc­tion began on the ex­pan­sion — and on a June im­age that shows the frame­work of the ad­di­tion, which is roughly the same size as the ini­tial cent­ri­fuge fa­cil­ity.

Ad­di­tion­al pro­lif­er­a­tion ex­perts agreed with the IS­IS ana­lys­is that the urani­um-en­rich­ment por­tion of the site ap­pears to have doubled in size, the Times re­por­ted.

The ex­pan­ded fa­cil­ity could pro­duce any­where from 16 to 68 kilo­grams of weapons-grade urani­um, enough to man­u­fac­ture two nuc­le­ar weapons per year, the IS­IS re­port states. 

North Korea as­serts that the cent­ri­fuge fa­cil­ity pro­duces low-en­riched urani­um for an onsite ex­per­i­ment­al light wa­ter re­act­or at the com­plex. However, it is un­clear how ex­tens­ive the North’s en­rich­ment ca­pa­city has be­come and wheth­er the isol­ated na­tion has pro­duced weapon-grade urani­um — and, if so, how much, ac­cord­ing to the ana­lyt­ic­al or­gan­iz­a­tion.

North Korea has faced sanc­tions from the United Na­tions aimed at pre­vent­ing the North from ac­quir­ing spe­cialty metals and cent­ri­fuge com­pon­ents from over­seas. Py­ongy­ang might have been able to de­vel­op ways of pro­du­cing these ma­ter­i­als do­mest­ic­ally, ac­cord­ing to the news­pa­per.

The news comes less than two weeks after North Korea’s lead­er Kim Jong Un told the Chinese vice pres­id­ent that he was open to re­start­ing de­nuc­lear­iz­a­tion dis­cus­sions, and just a day after the North pro­posed an­oth­er round of talks with South Korea with the in­tent of re­open­ing a shuttered fact­ory com­plex op­er­ated jointly by the two na­tions.

What We're Following See More »
‘PRESUMPTIVE NOMINEE’
Priebus Asks Party to Unite Behind Trump
5 hours ago
THE LATEST
FEELING THE MIDWESTERN BERN
Sanders Upsets Clinton in Indiana
6 hours ago
THE LATEST

Despite trailing Hillary Clinton by a significant margin, Bernie Sanders wasn't going the way of Ted Cruz tonight. The Vermont senator upset Clinton in Indiana, with MSNBC calling the race at 9pm. Sanders appears poised to win by a five- or six-point spread.

Source:
TRUMP IS PRESUMPTIVE NOMINEE
Ted Cruz Bows Out, Effectively Ceding the Contest to Trump
7 hours ago
THE LATEST

And just like that, it's over. Ted Cruz will suspend his presidential campaign after losing badly to Donald Trump in Indiana tonight. "While Cruz had always hedged when asked whether he would quit if he lost Indiana; his campaign had laid a huge bet on the state." John Kasich's campaign has pledged to carry on. “From the beginning, I’ve said that I would continue on as long as there was a viable path to victory,” said Cruz. “Tonight, I’m sorry to say it appears that path has been foreclosed."

Source:
TAKES AT LEAST 45 DELEGATES
Trump Wins Indiana, All but Seals the Nomination
7 hours ago
THE LATEST

The Republican establishment's last remaining hope—a contested convention this summer—may have just ended in Indiana, as Donald Trump won a decisive victory over Ted Cruz. Nothing Cruz seemed to have in his corner seemed to help—not a presumptive VP pick in Carly Fiorina, not a midwestern state where he's done well in the past, and not the state's legions of conservatives. Though Trump "won't secure the 1,237 delegates he needs to formally claim the nomination until June, his Indiana triumph makes it almost impossible to stop him. Following his decisive wins in New York and other East Coast states, the Indiana victory could put Trump within 200 delegates of the magic number he needs to clinch the nomination." Cruz, meanwhile, "now faces the agonizing choice of whether to remain in the race, with his attempt to force the party into a contested convention in tatters, or to bow out and cede the party nomination to his political nemesis." The Associated Press, which called the race at 7pm, predicts Trump will win at least 45 delegates.

Source:
THE QUESTION
What’s the Average Household Income of a Trump Voter?
12 hours ago
THE ANSWER

Seventy-two thousand dollars, according to FiveThirtyEight. That's higher than the national average, as well as the average Clinton or Sanders voter, but lower than the average Kasich voter.

Source:
×