Scientist: N. Korea has fuel for nuclear bombs

November 15, 2006 20:45


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A US nuclear scientist who toured North Korea this month said Wednesday he believes the North has enough fuel for as many as nine nuclear weapons and the capacity to make about one bomb's worth of fuel a year. Siegfried Hecker, a former director of the Los Alamos Nuclear Laboratory who met with chief North Korean nuclear scientists during his October 31-November 4 visit, said that while he learned no technical details about the North's October 9 nuclear test, officials indicated the test was "fully successful." He said he and the small group of former US officials who made the trip noticed a palpable sense of national pride about the test among the North Koreans they met. Hecker, who based his observations on meetings with the director of the North's five-megawatt Yongbyon nuclear facility and with nuclear specialists in China, said the North Korean nuclear test was most likely "at least partially successful," but the country probably was "still a long way from having a missile-capable nuclear design."

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