SEOUL, South Korea’s Defense Ministry said North Korea is capable of producing a nuclear weapon, using less than 13 pounds of plutonium.
A government official in Seoul who spoke to South Korea press on the condition of anonymity said North Korea has secured 88 pounds of plutonium, and capable of producing one weapon of mass destruction, South Korean outlet Newsis reported Friday, local time.
Yonhap reported a minimum of 13 pounds of plutonium is required to manufacture a nuclear weapon, and North Korea can manufacture 6-7 weapons.
In August, North Korea reportedly restarted its Yongbyon Reactor 2 to resume plutonium production, South Korea press reported. In early 2013, Pyongyang had already begun building light water reactors at Yongbyon.
North Korea’s nuclear arsenal continues to grow, even as the country has come under attack from the international community for its weapons program. The Institute for Science and International Security issued a report in October stating Pyongyang has enough nuclear material to build 22 nuclear weapons, and more specifically, between 66 and 88 pounds of separated plutonium in late 2014.
The report had stated activities captured in commercial satellite imagery at the Yongbyon nuclear site indicated spent fuel has been removed for chemical processing, and the fuel could have been used for nuclear tests. North Korea could produce weapons from plutonium or weapons-grade uranium, the report said, and could make a median of 22 nuclear weapons, but more information is needed on the size of North Korea’s centrifuge program.