North Korea is projected by the end of 2020 to have 25 to 60 nuclear weapons, a US think tank’s report on Pyongyang’s nuclear capabilities says.
The “worst case” estimate of 60 nuclear weapons would involve the operation of the Experimental Light Water Reactor, David Albright, founder and president of the Institute for Science and International Security said.
The type of thermal-neutron nuclear reactor is located at Yongbyon, where North Korea’s major nuclear facility is located, about 90km north of Pyongyang.
This assessment by the insitute follows the move of North Korea that performed two intercontinental ballistic missile tests in July. North Korea further escalated the regional security crisis by announcing on Thursday it was completing plans by mid-August to fire four intermediate-range missiles over Japan to land near the US Pacific island territory of Guam.
Pyongyang would have produced 13 to 30 nuclear weapons by the end of 2016, the report added.
Albright speculated that by the end of 2016, North Korea would have produced 13 to 30 nuclear weapons, based on the estimates of the reclusive nation’s production and use of plutonium and weapon-grade uranium. It also may have a handful of plutonium-based warheads for its Nodong ballistic missile capable of reaching targets within a medium 1200km range, including South Korea and Japan.