Tags: nkorea atomic weapons

Arms Bid Seen in NKorea's New Nuclear Plant

Monday, 22 Nov 2010 11:13 AM


American defense officials said Sunday that the revelation of North Korea’s new uranium enrichment facility confirmed longstanding suspicions that the country was seeking a second route to build atomic weapons, The New York Times reports. They dismissed the North’s claim that it was simply trying to build nuclear power plants denied to them by the West.

The description emerging of the new facility at Yongbyon, the North’s main nuclear plant, raised a number of critical questions that American and Asian intelligence agencies were struggling to answer.

First is whether a foreign government aided the North in the rapid installation of what appeared to be 2,000 centrifuges, the machines that spin at high speeds to enrich uranium. Second is whether the North’s real purpose is to build a new, far more powerful class of nuclear weapons, perhaps to bolster the credentials of the heir apparent, Kim Jong-un, the son and grandson of the only two leaders North Korea has ever known.

Asked in Santa Cruz, Bolivia, where he was on an official visit, whether he believed the North’s story that it was producing only low-enriched uranium that could not be used in nuclear weapons, Defense Secretary Robert M. Gates told reporters, “I don’t credit that at all.” He argued that the new facility, once it was operating, could enable North Korea to build “a number” of nuclear devices beyond the 8 to 12 they are now presumed to have.

Read the entire story at nytimes.com

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2010-13-22
Monday, 22 Nov 2010 11:13 AM
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