Just weeks prior to a planned second summit between U.S. President Donald Trump and North Korean leader Kim Jong Un in Vietnam, a study says the rogue Asian nation has continued to produce bomb fuel while in denuclearization talks with the U.S., Reuters reported Tuesday.
The study reveals North Korea may have produced enough fuel in the last year to power as many as seven nuclear weapons in its arsenal, the report said.
In the report by Stanford University’s Center for International Security and Cooperation, researchers said North Korea’s weapons program probably poses less of a threat at this time than it did at the end of 2017 because of the country’s freeze in nuclear and missile testing, Reuters reported.
One of the report’s authors, Siegfried Hecker, a former director of the U.S. Los Alamos weapons laboratory in New Mexico who is now at Stanford, told Reuters satellite imagery analysis showed North Korea’s production of bomb fuel had continued into 2018, the report said.
Hecker said spent fuel generated from operation of the 5 megawatt reactor at its main nuclear plant at Yongbyon between 2016 and 2018 appeared to have been reprocessed beginning in May and would have produced an estimated 5-8 kg of weapons-grade plutonium, Reuters reported.