Skip to comments.Satellite Image Shows Building Containing Centrifuges in North Korea
Posted on 11/22/2010 12:14:13 AM PST by TigerLikesRooster
Satellite Image Shows Building Containing Centrifuges in North Korea
by David Albright and Paul Brannan
November 21, 2010
Dr. Siegfried Hecker of Stanford University released a report on November 21, 2010 detailing his recent visit to the Yongbyon nuclear site in North Korea. Hecker describes his visit to a building containing 2,000 gas centrifuges located on the site of the fuel fabrication facility at Yongbyon dedicated, according to his hosts, to producing low enriched uranium (LEU). He notes that the building is approximately 120 meters long and has a blue roof. ISIS assesses that this building can be seen in a November 4, 2010 DigitalGlobe satellite image in figure 1 below. Hecker also noted that the building had been repurposed, as he had visited this building in 2008 at which time it did not contain centrifuges (figure 2 shows the same building in February of 2007). Figure 3 shows the location of the plant relative to the entire Yongbyon site.
In an October 2010 report, ISIS assessed that the data support that North Korea has the capability of building, at the very least, a pilot plant, of gas centrifuges, with a pilot plant defined as between 500 and 1,000 centrifuges. If there are 2,000 centrifuges installed at the Yongbyon site, that number is greater but consistent with the ISIS finding, and thus not completely unexpected. Nonetheless, learning of the existence of this plant is extremely significant, and the new information requires deep study. It is also true that a centrifuge plant does not exist in a vacuum. It is still unknown where North Korea researches, develops, and manufactures centrifuges.
The North Koreans told Hecker that the plant had just started producing LEU. Hecker was not told when this plant would be in full operation,
(Excerpt) Read more at isis-online.org ...
It is possible that North Korea built another plant previously and either transferred it to Yongbyon or simply built another one based on its experience of bringing the first, perhaps smaller, one into operation.
It may be true that their first prototype was small in scale. However, by now, I bet that they have bigger one than the one shown to U.S. expert in Pyongyang, which is operational and running deep underground
NK is working rather feverishly to be able to supply the tech demands of their allies in the muslim and leftist world. Meanwhile there is a concerted effort not to look at them. And it’s working just fine.
BTW, NK uranium ore is very low grade and minimally of commercial value. Most of the ore assays at about .8% while the top commercial grade ores run at least 10 times that. The top Canadian mines run at 23%.
So what's going on? Why have all the centrifuges? 2,000 centrifuges can process uranium gas from about 2,000 tons of yellowcake a year, but the entire output of NK mines is about 300 tons. And, they don't have the conversion facilities to convert that yellowcake to gas.
Most likely they are trying to build and perfect P-1 and P-2 centrifuges for sale to others.
They have also given Russia the right to all their uranium ore because NK can't afford to mine it and convert it.
Uranium and centrifuges are a business to NK. There are many willing customers....Syria, Venezuela, Iran, Myanmar, the usual list of suspects.