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CBRN Assessment

North Korea has 50 kg of weapons-grade plutonium, says Seoul

12 January 2017

North Korea has an estimated 50 kg of weapons-grade plutonium, or enough to manufacture 10 nuclear weapons, South Korea's Ministry of National Defense (MND) said in its 2016 Defense White Paper. The stockpile represents a 10 kg increase compared to the 2014 figures provided by the South Korean government.

An MND official in Seoul was quoted by KBS World Radio as saying that the latest assessment is based on the timing of the reactivation and stoppage of reactor operations, the scale of spent fuel reprocessing, and how much plutonium has been consumed during Pyongyang's nuclear tests.

Released on 11 January, the MND paper also said that the North has reached a "significant level" of improvement in both its warhead miniaturisation and uranium enrichment programmes.

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