How to defang a phantom – North Korea presents nuclear disarmament’s biggest challenge yet | International

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SIEGFRIED HECKER, a professor who used to run America’s nuclear laboratory at Los Alamos, remembers the latest of the seven journeys he has made to North Korea, in 2010. His hosts have been displaying off their sprawling Yongbyon atomic-energy advanced. With a mix of shyness and defiance, they displayed an astonishing spectacle: a corridor with 2,000 brand-new centrifuges, machines that enrich uranium, both for electrical energy or nuclear bombs.

Apparently assembled in one other, unsuspected web site, that they had appeared in Yongbyon since Mr Hecker’s earlier journey in 2008. This implied that, in addition to its present plutonium-based know-how, the nation may make nuclear bombs from uranium. He was additionally proven the beginnings of a light-water reactor that might produce extra plutonium. The message: “We’ve got extra nuclear capability than you assume, and also you’ll by no means know the way a lot…”

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