The head of the global nuclear watchdog says North Korea has doubled the size of its uranium-enriching facility in recent years.
Yukiya Amano, the Director-General of the International Atomic Energy Agency(IAEA), made the claim in an interview with the Wall Street Journal(WSJ) on Monday, citing the agency’s satellite surveillance of the North’s Yongbyon nuclear site since 2010.
He warned that Pyongyang has rapidly advanced its ability to produce nuclear weapons both through the production of plutonium and the enrichment of uranium.
However, Amano said it is difficult to estimate how many nuclear bombs the North has stockpiled. The WSJ said the U.S. and Chinese authorities believe the North has 40 nuclear bombs.
Noting the North Korean nuclear issue has entered a new phase due to the rapid advancement of the regime’s nuclear program, Amano also expressed concerns about Pyongyang’s possible exports of its nuclear technologies and raw nuclear materials.
Since the North expelled IAEA inspectors in 2009, the global watchdog has monitored the country’s nuclear facilities through satellite images and intelligence-gathering.