DW – January 11, 2017
North Korea has enough weapons-grade plutonium to produce 10 nuclear bombs, Seoul’s Defense Ministry said. The claim comes after Kim Jong-Un said the country was close to testing an intercontinental ballistic missile.
Pyongyang is currently in possession of 50 kilograms (110 pounds) of weapons-grade plutonium, South Korea’s Defense Ministry said on Wednesday.
The amount is enough to make 10 nuclear weapons, and is up from 40 kilograms, eight years previous, the ministry said while presenting its two-yearly white paper.
The report claimed that North Korea produced the extra material by reprocessing used fuel rods from its reactor in Yongbyon.
The North has a “considerable” ability to produce weapons from highly-enriched uranium, the paper said. The ministry was unable to estimate weapons-grade uranium stocks, citing difficulties in penetrating the North’s secretive uranium program.
The Institute for Science and International Security in the United States estimated that as of June 2016, North Korea had an arsenal of 13 to 21 atomic weapons, compared to 10 to 16 in 2014.