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North Korea claims progress on uranium

Fri., Sept. 4, 2009

SEOUL, South Korea – North Korea said today that it is in the final stages of enriching uranium, a process that could give the nation a second way to make nuclear bombs in addition to its known plutonium-based program.

North Korea informed the U.N. Security Council it is forging ahead with its nuclear programs in defiance of international calls to abandon its atomic ambitions, the official Korean Central News Agency said.

The dispatch said plutonium “is being weaponized,” and that uranium enrichment – a program North Korea revealed in recent months – was entering the “completion phase.” Experts had long suspected that the North had a hidden uranium enrichment program, which would give the regime a second source of nuclear material.

Uranium enrichment is a simpler method of building nuclear weapons than reprocessing plutonium, and it can be enriched in relatively inconspicuous factories that can better evade spy-satellite detection.

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