The News Courier in Athens, Alabama

State and Nation

April 4, 2013

North Korea still far from backing up nuke threats

(Continued)

It may also be a sign of frustration from Pyongyang that weeks of posturing and threats haven't driven U.S. and South Korean negotiators back to nuclear disarmament-for-aid talks.

"What they really want is a safety blanket and a blackmail tool," Ralph Cossa, president of the Pacific Forum CSIS think tank in Hawaii, said in an email.

The announcement "is primarily political, designed to signal strength and intimidate. It should not necessarily be seen as a revelation about North Korea's capabilities and true intent," Greg Thielmann, a senior fellow at the Arms Control Association in Washington, said in an email.

A reactor at the main Nyongbyon nuclear complex could eventually make, in one year, enough plutonium to power one bomb. It was shuttered as part of international disarmament talks in 2007, its cooling tower blown up in a dramatic show of commitment to a now-scrapped nuclear deal. North Korea shocked many when in 2010 it unveiled an industrial-scale uranium enrichment facility, which gives it an alternative route to create bombs.

Estimates on restarting the vital facilities at the plutonium reactor vary from three months to a year, depending on the expert.

North Korea has already begun construction at the reactor and it could be back in operation sooner than expected, according to a U.S. research institute that analyzed recent commercial satellite imagery of Nyongbyon. Rebuilding the cooling tower would take six months, but a March 27 photo shows building work may have started for an alternative cooling system that could take just weeks, the U.S.-Korea Institute at Johns Hopkins School of Advanced International Studies said Wednesday.

But even if the reactor is now up and running, Cossa estimates it would be two to three years before scientists could obtain more plutonium for bombs.

Text Only
State and Nation
Photos


Poll

Do you believe America will ever make another manned flight to the moon or another planet?

Yes
No
     View Results
Facebook
AP Video
Power to Be Restored After Wash. Wildfire Crashed Air Algerie Plane Found in Mali Israel Mulls Ceasefire Amid Gaza Offensive In Case of Fire, Oxygen Masks for Pets Mobile App Gives Tour of Battle of Atlanta Sites Anti-violence Advocate Killed, but Not Silenced. Dempsey: Putin May Light Fire and Lose Control Arizona Prison Chief: Execution Wasn't Botched Calif. Police Investigate Peacock Shooting Death Raw: Protesters, Soldiers Clash in West Bank Police: Doctor Who Shot Gunman 'Saved Lives' 'Modern Family' Star on Gay Athletes Coming Out MN Twins Debut Beer Vending Machine DA: Pa. Doctor Fired Back at Hospital Gunman Raw: Iowa Police Dash Cam Shows Wild Chase
Twitter Updates
Hyperlocal Search
Premier Guide
Find a business

Walking Fingers
Maps, Menus, Store hours, Coupons, and more...
Premier Guide
Stocks
Parade
Magazine

Click HERE to read all your Parade favorites including Hollywood Wire, Celebrity interviews and photo galleries, Food recipes and cooking tips, Games and lots more.
Business Marquee