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US expert doubts N Korean bombs PDF Print E-mail
Justice News
Wednesday, 21 January 2004 05:07

BBC: A top United States scientist who visited North Korea's nuclear complex has said he left "unconvinced" the North could develop or deliver a bomb. Siegfried Hecker told US lawmakers that the North could probably make plutonium, but he was not convinced it could turn it into a nuclear weapon.

Mr Hecker said the North wanted to prove its nuclear capacity to help its negotiating position with the US.

The two countries have been locked in a stand-off over the issue for a year.

Mr Hecker, former head of the US nuclear laboratory at Los Alamos, was speaking publicly for the first time since two delegations of US nationals visited Yongbyon, the first outsiders to see the plant since North Korea forced UN inspectors to leave a year ago.

He confirmed reports that he had been handed what North Korean officials claimed was a lump of plutonium.

"I saw nothing and spoke to no o­ne who could convince me that they could build a nuclear device with that metal," he said.

He also confirmed that the delegates had been shown storage ponds which used to contain used fuel rods, but which were now empty.

North Korea has claimed to have reprocessed the fuel to make enough plutonium for several nuclear bombs, though intelligence officials are unsure about the claims.

Story from BBC NEWS:http://news.bbc.co.uk/go/pr/fr/-/2/hi/asia-pacific/3417299.stm

Published: 2004/01/21 15:47:26 GMT


Last Updated on Wednesday, 21 January 2004 05:07

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