Who’s Behind N. Korea’s ‘Ultra-Modern’ Uranium Plant?
November 21, 2010
(ChattahBox World News)—-The isolated militaristic country of North Korea and its bellicose “Dear Leader” Kim Jong-il, are up to no good, as usual. Flouting United Nations Security Council sanctions, North Korea has somehow, secretly constructed an “ultra-modern” uranium enrichment facility in less than two-years, according to The New York Times. And all signs point to weapons production and not fuel. How did the United States discover the new uranium plant? North Korea boasted about it to a visiting American nuclear scientist, Siegfried S. Hecker, and even gave him the three-dollar tour of the new facility humming with hundreds of operating centrifuges churning out enriched uranium. Why is North Korea showing off its plant that’s in clear violation of international sanctions? Who knows? Kim Jong-il could be seeking an international payoff to stop, as he has done in the past. But the interesting question is, what foreign country risked collaborating with North Korea to build the facility?
Although North Korea has been producing nuclear material, since the 1950s, it relied on using plutonium from spent fuel, until recently. But the up-to-date technology and the speedy construction of the uranium enrichment plant raises questions of foreign assistance, considering North Korea can’t even afford to feed its people.
“The scientist, Siegfried S. Hecker, a Stanford professor who previously directed the Los Alamos National Laboratory, said in an interview that he had been “stunned” by the sophistication of the new plant, where he saw “hundreds and hundreds” of centrifuges that had just been installed in a recently gutted building that had housed an aging fuel fabrication center, and that were operated from what he called “an ultra-modern control room.” The North Koreans claimed 2,000 centrifuges were already installed and running, he said.”
“American officials know that the plant did not exist in April 2009, when the last Americans and international inspectors were thrown out of the country. The speed with which it was built strongly suggests that the impoverished, isolated country, which tested its first nuclear device in 2006, had foreign help and evaded strict new United Nations Security Council sanctions imposed to punish its rejection of international controls.”
Hecker returned to the U.S. and reported his shocking findings to the Obama administration. In response, the White House dispatched officials to the member-countries of the stalled six-party talks, including China, Japan, Russia and South Korea.
Adm. Mike Mullen, the chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff told ABC’s Christiane Amanpour, “This validates a long-standing concern we’ve had with regard to North Korea and its enrichment of uranium.”
But who is helping the impoverished country of North Korea violate United Nations Security Council sanctions? China, Russia, Iran?
It’s vital that the U.S. ratify and sign the START treaty with Russia, to be able to continue to apply pressure on the rogue nuclear nations of North Korea and Iran.
Photo Source: Wikimedia/Presidential Press and Information Office, www.kremlin.ru/President Putin with North Korean leader Kim Jong-il, 2000/Creative Commons Attribution 3.0 Unported.